Manawatu claimed a 22-20 victory over Waikato in an entertaining ITM Cup match in Hamilton on Saturday.
As the scoreline suggests this was a close affair and although there was plenty of enterprising play, both sides were guilty of not taking advantage of their opportunities.
Waikato made the brighter start and led 11-6 at half-time thanks to an early Joe Webber try but the visitors were fastest out of the blocks in the second half and were rewarded with a Jason Emery try shortly after the restart.
Both sides had players sent to the sin bin in the latter stages of the match for cynical infringements. First to go was Manawatu’s Mike Fitzgerald in the 69th minute and Waikato’s Josh Hohneck also received his marching orders five minutes later.
In the end, Waikato will be kicking themselves as Damian McKenzie missed four penalty attempts.
Pens: McKenzie 5
Con: Te Rure
Pens: Te Rure 2, Black 3
Waikato: 15 Wharenui Hawera, 14 Regan Ware, 13 Jordan Payne, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Joe Webber, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (capt), 8 Adam Burn, 7 Zak Hohneck, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Jacob Skeen, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Loni Uhila.
Replacements: 16 Harry Jones, 17 Richard Johnston, 18 Nick Ross, 19 Zane Kapeli, 20 Troy Lobendahn, 21 Dylan Collier, 22 Shayne Anderson.
Manawatu: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Newton Tudreu, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Hamish Northcott, 11 Nathan Tudreu, 10 Jade Te Rure, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Nick Crosswell (c), 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Mike FitzGerald, 4 Fraser Stone, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Nick Grogan, 17 Tim Cadwallader, 18 Keepa Mewett, 19 Brice Henderson, 20 Jamie Booth, 21 Otere Black, 22 Semisi Masirewa.
Referee: Brett Johnson