Turbos comeback sinks Mooloo men
Saturday, August 18, 2018 allblacks.com Getty Images
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The first was scored by one of their main weapons in wing Sevu Reece who went over following some slick hands. Hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho benefited a few minutes later on the back of a well-coordinated forward drive to make it 12-0 to Waikato as the home fans were still finding their seats in the stands.
Waikato continued to dominate possession and territory in the first half, forcing the Turbos into racking up a big number of tackles to ensure the deficit remained at 12 points. The Mooloos could have been further up but a combination of scrambling Turbos defence and lack of composure kept the score at 12-0 for a long period.
Despite boasting a number of game-breakers in their backline, Manawatu looked ineffective with ball in hand for the majority of the first half until fullback Junior Laloifi provided the much-needed spark in the 37th minute.
Nicknamed the ‘Prince of Pace’, the 23-year-old Queensland Reds import showed just why by scything through the Waikato defence in midfield and scorching away for a try from 50 metres out.
The Turbos desperately needed something to get them going, and Laloifi’s try was just the tonic they needed on halftime to make it 5-12 at the break.
But just as it looked like the home-side were going to take complete control, Waikato laid on a brilliantly worked team try to Declan O’Donnell to tie up the game 19-19 with 15 minutes to play.
Manawatu broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion with a try that seemed to feature every Turbos player on the park and ended with Laloifi grabbing his double in the corner.
Waikato tried hard in the closing minutes to snatch a victory but the Turbos defence held firm to cling on for the crucial bonus point 24-19 win.
Manawatu now turn their attention to a Ranfurly Shield challenge against Taranaki next week while Waikato are at home to North Harbour.
Manawatu 24 (Junior Laloifi 2, Faalelei Sione, Rob Thompson tries, Sam Malcolm 2 con) Waikato 19 (Sevu Reece, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Declan O’Donnell tries, Fletcher Smith 2 con)
FT | @ManawatuTurbos fight back from a slow start to pick up a crucial win over @WaikatoRugby in Palmerston North.#MANvWAI #Ours pic.twitter.com/6moHcqgbdp— Mitre 10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) August 18, 2018
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