Willy Ambaka’s Manawatu Turbos have dealt themselves a major confidence boost after picking up a bonus-point win over last seasons finalists Tasman.
Manawatu got up 35-20 in Palmerston North on Sunday to record their first win of the season.
The Turbos bagged four tries and held the dangerous attacking Makos side to just two.
Manawatu coach Jeremy Cotter was pleased to see the team not repeat the same mistakes they made in their loss to Wellington in week one.
"We learned from it and that was the pleasing thing," he said. "We learned about patience and about staying in the fight longer."
Picking up a win before heading on the road to Dunedin was important to the team, Cotter said.
"There is massive self belief to come out of this game and confidence in some of the things we are doing."
"We finished well. We finished at the right end of the paddock and made good decisions. We shut them down on defence when they tried to run it. They were in catch-up mode."
Among the major positives for the Turbos was a well functioning lineout and one of the cleanest performances in terms of kickoff reception in the last two years.
There was also great impact from the bench, particularly from props Sean Paranihi and Tuki Raimona.
The Turbos left their subs later in the match than they did against Wellington.
"We were dictating play and if it ain't broke, don't fix it," Cotter said.
The 15-3 lead at halftime looked comfortable, but Tasman came out hard in the second half.
Manawatu now head to Dunedin to take on Otago with the possibility of Nehe Milner-Skudder and Ngani Laumape both suiting up for the match.
Manawatu 35 (Nick Crosswell, Kurt Baker, Hunter Prescott, Hamish Northcott tries; Otere Black 3 con, 3 pen) Tasman 20 (Alex Ainley, Michael Green tries; Mitchell Hunt 2 con, 2 pen) HT: 15-3