30 August 2008

Superb win for Waikato

Waikato looks to have finally found some form and has thrashed Auckland 34-13 in Hamilton in week five of the Air New Zealand Cup.

The home side really stepped up and gave it to the defending champs, picking up a valuable 5 points in doing so and putting its 2008 campaign in good stead.

Waikato ran in four tries to Auckland's two in a game that saw Mooloo All Blacks Sione Lauaki and Stephen Donald truly shine as they dominated all aspects of the game.

Auckland first five-eighths Lachie Munro scored the first points of the evening as he kicked an easy penalty in front of a very local home crowd.

Waikato was straight back on the offensive however and scored a brilliant try through wing Tim Mikkelson on the back of some impressive backline play.

Donald successfully added the extra points as Waikato took the 7-3 lead after 12 minutes.

After having to valiantly defend its tryline, Auckland then ran in a try against the run of play when centre Ben Atiga slid over the line and put Auckland back in front.

A collapsed scrum right in front of the Auckland posts resulted in a penalty and allowed Donald to add three more points and reclaim the lead after 22 minutes of play.

Waikato was looking the far more dangerous of the sides as it chipped away at Auckland and started to create some real pressure.

Big Mooloo No. 8 Lauaki looked to have finally found some form as he threw himself into the game and terrorised the visitors with his outstanding tackle-breaking and ball-running abilities.

Donald was able to show his class when his chip kick and re-gather paid off and he scored Waikato's second of the night.

The 17-8 score remained the same for the res t of the half with Waikato looking confident going into the break.

It took 10 minutes in the second half before Donald slotted another penalty and boosted the points buffer to 12 over the defending champs.

Lauaki then showed all he was capable of when he stole a ball from a ruck and then sprinted down field before passing to second five-eighths Callum Bruce who scored Waikato's fourth of the evening.

Donald kicked the extra two and took the score to 27-8 with just under 30 minutes left in the game.

Munro was able to pick up a crucial try for Auckland in the 68th minute when he was flicked a good pass and used the overlap to score in the corner.

Although time was working against Auckland, the visitors put together some of its best play of the evening in the dying stages of the game.

It was Waikato that had the final say of the night when Lauaki drew a man and passed to lightening quick winger Soseni Anesi who sprinted down the sideline before passing inside to hooker Ole Avei who scored.

Donald converted the try just moments before the fulltime whistle and Waikato claimed its first win in 2008.

Waikato 34 (Mikkelson, Donald, Bruce, Avei; Donald 4 con, 2 pen)
Auckland 13 (Atiga, Munro tries; Munro pen)

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