Manawatu made heavy work of it but in the end they ground out a late 27-23 victory over Tasman in Nelson to secure their spot in the NPC championship final next month.
The home team were very physical in the tackle area and took a well-deserved 17-13 lead into the half-time break but the turbos fought back in the second forty minutes and snatched a late victory through All Black flyhalf Aaron Cruden's second try which came with two minutes left on the clock.
Cruden was the stand-out performer for the visitors, apart from his two five-pointers he set up a try for Doug Tietjens, converted all three and kicked two penalties.
Lock Joe Wheeler scored both tries for the home side and Andrew Goodman was reliable as usual off the kicking tee, but they got their hearts broken at the death as their difficult season continues.
Tasman will be bitterly disappointed with the result as they dominated their opponents for most of the game but just could not stop the Cruden magic when it mattered most.
Tries: Cruden 2, Tietjens
Cons: Cruden 3
Pens: Cruden 2
Tries: Wheeler 2
Cons: Goodman 2
Pens: Goodman 3
Tasman: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Robbie Malneek, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Andrew Goodman (captain), 11 Mitchell Scott, 10 James Marshall, 9 Steve Alfeld, 8 Mark Bright, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Craig Moore, 1 Fai Mika, 3 Sam Prattley, 2 Quentin MacDonald.
Replacements: 16 Francis Smith, 17 James Hadfield, 18 Vernon Fredricks, 19 Jonathan Poff, 20 Shawn Begg, 21 James Proctor, 22 Jack Umaga, 23 Hamish Cochrane.
Manawatu: 15 Nehe Milne-Skudder, 14 Craig Clare, 13 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Frank Bryant, 11 Junior Tomasi Cama, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 James Oliver, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Nick Crosswell (captain), 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Reece Robinson, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Grant Polson.
Replacements: 16 Bryn Templeman, 17 Jared Brock, 18 Fraser Stone, 19 Doug Tietjens, 20 Hamish Gosling, 21 Isaac Thompson, 22 Lewis Marshall, 23 David Te Moana.
Referee: Mike Fraser
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