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Waikato maintain their hold over Auckland

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Auckland has provided no fears for Waikato in recent seasons and they inflicted an embarrassing defeat on their city cousins by virtue of the control they demonstrated under pressure.

Lansdowne ensured when Waikato were under assault they cleared their 22m efficiently, something Auckland were unable to achieve. He was happy taking the ball to the line and to add to the performance he landed 15 points with his goal-kicking.

Having committed far too many mistakes, many of their errors unforced, Auckland had their chance with seven minutes remaining. Replacement Sione Havili made the most of a penalty awarded against Waikato for a head-high tackle.

The ball was kicked to the corner for the predictable lineout maul and while Waikato knew what was coming they couldn't halt the drive and Havili went over to get back within five points.

But, as was the case all night, errors resulted in penalties making life easy for Waikato to close out the game.

Auckland paid an early price from a mistake at the kick-off to start the game and Waikato swarmed onto the opportunity and when Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara joined the backline from the blindside wing and created the chance for a long pass to give wing Tyler Campbell all the time and space he could want to score the opening try.

However, penalties conceded by Waikato provided Auckland with the chance to regain some poise, although it came after an attempted penalty goal by fullback Jordan Trainor hit the post.

Auckland had followed up well and setting up their drive it was captain and lock Patrick Tuipulotu who burrowed low to get beneath the Waikato defenders to score.



But confused calling soon after the restart in the Auckland 22m saw an unnecessary long pass get dropped and Waikato needed no second bidding to get over the ball and flanker Jordan Manihera drove through for his sixth try of the season.

Auckland's scrum was its most impressive contributor to the first half and it came in handy when a penalty was awarded five metres out from the Waikato line and from the choice of a scrum, No.8 Akira Ioane ran wide to set up the ruck and Tuipulotu drove ahead and from the breakdown it was tighthead prop Marcel Renata who also went low to get the try.

Waikato missed a golden opportunity to score after the half-time siren as they tried a lineout drive only to obstruct the defence in their set-up and the chance was lost.

Auckland had a slight spell with the lead when Trainor landed a penalty goal six minutes into the second half but the concession of a penalty try as Waikato mounted a 53rd minute rolling maul undid all the good work.

Then just before the three-quarter mark another stab at the Auckland heart came from loose play when replacement wing Sevu Reece chipped the ball ahead down the sideline and ran onto the ball take Waikato to a 32-20 lead.

Auckland may have had a chance to claim a late win, but on the display it would have been undeserved. Waikato came under severe scrum pressure while their lineout also wasn't the most functional but they countered that with sound defence.

Scorers: Auckland 27 (Patrick Tuipulotu, Marcel Renata, Sione Havili tries; Jordan Trainor 3 con, 2 pen) Waikato 35 (Tyler Campbell, Jordan Manihera, penalty try, Sevu Reece tries; Matthew Lansdowne 3 con, 3 pen). HT: 17-18







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