Mooloos run rampant under Whangarei sun

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Saturday, October 6, 2018    Campbell Burnes    Getty Images

In very warm conditions in the north, the Mooloos continued their irrepressible form, running in no less than 11 tries for their sixth straight victory and giving every impression that their stay in the Championship will be a short one. 

Captain Dwayne Sweeney was a late scratching, but Waikato did not miss a beat. Within the first minute, centre Bailyn Sullivan had crossed for a try off a superb piece of skill by fullback Matty Lansdown.

Rene Ranger hit back for Northland from a Renata Roberts-Tenana break, but that was the Taniwha’s only first half joy.

Sullivan nailed his second try, again off a Lansdown last pass, and his midfield combination with Quinn Tupaea looks like one for Waikato’s future, if not here and now.

A long Tyler Campbell pass sent Sevu Reece over for the first of his double, which now takes him to eight for 2018.

Waikato No 10 Fletcher Smith showed some classy touches, using his left (supposedly weaker) boot to good effect on one occasion and finishing smartly for his try.

Tupaea scored the first of his brace, hitting a nice hole and finishing in style.
James Tucker was industrious in the No 6 jersey and he scored a try through some soft defence on the stroke of halftime, by which stage the visitors led 38-7, causing pain to such local luminaries as Sid Going and Richie Guy.

Tupaea’s second try was an 80m intercept try. Then followed a Raniera Takarangi try, emanating from 60m, a penalty try, reflective of a dominant Waikato scrum, Reece’s second off yet another intercept and finally Pepesana Patafilo’s try.

Northland did not throw in the towel and pushed hard to secure the tryscoring bonus point that would guarantee semifinals footy. That was duly achieved, via an opportunist try by Roberts-Tenana, a long-range Sam Nock score and ultimately by Aorangi Stokes from a quick tap.

Many of the good crowd at Northland Events Centre would have been disappointed at the result but could not complain about the free-flowing rugby, with 15 tries in all.

The Taniwha will close out the regular season in Tauranga against Bay Plenty next Saturday afternoon, while the Mooloos will prepare for a Ranfurly Shield defence against Otago in the early Saturday evening match on October 13.

Waikato 71 (Bailyn Sullivan 2, Sevu Reece 2, Quinn Tupaea 2, Fletcher Smith, James Tucker, Raniera Takarangi, Pepesana Patafilo tries, penalty try; Smith 7 con) Northland 28 (Rene Ranger, Renata Roberts-Tenana, Sam Nock, Aorangi Stokes tries; Jack Debreczeni 4 con) HT: 38-7 Waikato