Tasman Mako centre Levi Aumua has produced two incredible try assists in the space of three minutes but it wasn’t enough to prevent Auckland from taking a tight 30-27 victory at Eden Park.
After All Black midfielder Roger Tuivasa-Sheck scored one of two opening tries for Auckland, Tasman found themselves down 14-3 nearly half an hour into the clash and in desperate need of some points.
Former Blues and current Moana Pasifika centre Levi Aumua stepped up to produce two magic plays for the Mako, the first of which might go down as the offload of the season.
Attacking the left side, Aumua was at risk of going into touch as four Auckland defenders tried to tackle him over the sideline.
The Mako No 13 threw a ‘hail mary’ offload around his back to keep the play alive which miraculously found it’s way into the hands of No 8 Sione Havili.
The Auckland defence thought the ball had gone into touch only to find out that Havili had the ball. The loose forward powered over the last defender, halfback Taufa Funaki, to score in the corner.
Just moments later Aumua produced another spectacular play to set up his left wing Macca Springer on a brilliant kick return.
Fielding a chip kick around halfway, Aumua picked up the bouncing ball and set off in the opposite direction past the Auckland kick chase.
Once again No 9 Funaki found himself trying to make the cover tackle and was promptly discarded by a power handoff by the Tasman centre. Springer received the last pass once Aumua took care of fullback Salesi Rayasi.
The explosive passage of play got Tasman back into the lead at 15-14 at halftime and they extended that shortly after the break after a crossfield kick to Highlanders wing Fetuli Paea.
When Springer grabbed his double in the 63rd minute to put the visitors up 27-20 it looked over for Auckland, but the boot of Harry Plummer kept them within touching distance.
His third penalty of the afternoon closed the gap to 27-23 and former Blues flanker Blake Gibson produced the game-winning try minutes from full time by barging over from close range.
Auckland’s fifth win of the season kept them at second place in the conference, while Tasman slipped to 3-5 and down to fourth place.
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