Waikato end Auckland's winning run
September 14, 2013
Waikato produced a vastly improved defensive effort to halt Auckland's unbeaten run in the ITM Cup, running in six tries to four at Rugby Park in Hamilton to claim just their second win of the season - and their first since the opening weekend.
Waikato blindside flanker Rory Grice opened the scoring after six minutes, claiming a well-taken try set up by the pace of Semisi Masirewa on the left wing, and rookie scrum-half Brad Weber notched the second seven minutes later when he exposed lazy Auckland defence at the breakdown with a jinking run.
Auckland skipper Hadleigh Parkes sliced through for a try into the wind, but Waikato issued a swift response after Tim Mikkelsen reclaimed the restart, from which good support play was capped by five-eighth Wharenui Hawera. Auckland finally managed to string phases together, and Patrick Tuipulotu crashed over on the half-hour mark, but Waikato once again responded immediately when Grice made a storming run up the middle just two minutes later to set up Masirewa for the bonus-point try.
The teams were slow to find momentum in the second spell, but replacement Auckland winger Vince Aso kick-started a flurry of action with his 55th-minute try out wide. Weber capitalised on an Auckland mix-up at the back of a defensive scrum for his second try four minutes later, and Liaki Moli barrelled over for Auckland's bonus-point try on 63 minutes. Waikato fullback Trent Renata, who slotted all six of his goal kicks, then crossed for the hosts' sixth try to secure their first win since their 31-22 win over Northland in August.
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