Taranaki win maiden title

Taranaki withstood a late Tasman fightback to claim a thrilling 36-32 victory in the New Zealand Cup final in New Plymouth.

The hosts led 33-13 with 15 minutes to go, but Tasman hit back with two converted tries by Billy Guyton and Pete Samu to set up an exciting finale.

Taranaki winger Codey Rei then kicked a 45m penalty, his fifth of the game, and while Tasman scored a last-minute try through Guyton, the final whistle blew straight after the missed conversion.

Earlier, Taranaki had taken a 6-0 lead, before Tasman outside centre Kieron Fonotia dotted down for a converted try.

Taranaki then took full control of the match with scores from hooker Rhys Marshall and a double from inside centre Charlie Ngatai.

Tasman looked well beaten when Rei slotted two more penalties, but would finish strongly.

It wouldn't be enough, though, as Taranaki celebrated their first national provincial championship title.

Taranaki – Tries: Rhys Marshall, Charlie Ngatai (2). Conversions: Codey Rei (3). Penalties: Rei (5).
Tasman – Tries: Kieron Fonotia, Pete Samu, Billy Guyton (2). Conversions: Marty Banks (3). Penalties: Banks (2).

Taranaki – 15 James Marshall (c), 14 Codey Rei, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Iopu Iopu-Aso, 7 Berny Hall, 6 Mitchell Crosswell, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Riki Hoeata, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Subs: 16 Sione Lea, 17 Ryan Cocker, 18 Mitchell Brown, 19 Mitchell Brown, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Jackson Ormond, 22 Kurt Baker.

Tasman – 15 Robbie Malneek, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 James Lowe, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Siua Hulanukunuka.
Subs: 16 Jesse MacDonald, 17 Reuben Northover, 18 Tevita Cavubati, 19 Vernon Fredricks, 20 Billy Guyton, 21 David Havili, 22 Mitchell Scott.

Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Gallo Images

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Mariette Adams