Waikato finished their 2015 ITM Cup on a high by securing the Ranfurly Shield for 2015 after claiming a 36-30 victory over Hawke's Bay in Napier on Friday.
In a thrilling match, played at a frentic pace, the Mooloo Men were full value for their victory, outscoring their hosts by five tries to four with Brad Weber leading the way with a hat-trick of tries, all scored in the second half.
The win was a crucial one for Waikato as it also helped them to avoid relegation.
Waikato made a superb start and raced in to the lead thanks to an early Anton Lienert-Brown try but Hawke's Bay struck back when Ash Dixon crashed over from close quarters shortly afterwards.
The Magpies suffered a setback when Zac Guildford was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle on Damian McKenzie, who dusted himself off before slotting the subsequent penalty.
Josh Hohneck then crossed for a superb try which pushed Waikato further ahead and then Josh Hohneck left his stamp on the match with a fine solo try.
That didn't unsettle Hawke's Bay though and they replied in style when Brendon O'Connor crossed for his first of two tries shortly before half-time.
Waikato then took control of proceedings thanks to those three tries from Weber and although Hawke's Bay made a late charge with further tries by O'Connor and Lewis Marshall it was too little to late as the Mooloo Men held on for a memorable win.
For Hawke's Bay:
Tries: O'Connor 2, Dixon, Marshall
Cons: West 2
Pens: West 2
Yellow card: Guildford
Tries: Weber 3, Lienert-Brown, Hohneck
Cons: McKenzie 4
Yellow card: Tameifuna
Hawke's Bay: 15 Lewis Marshall, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Richard Buckman, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Tony Lamborn, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Brendon Edmonds, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Tolu Fahamokioa.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Mark Braidwood, 18 Jarvy Aoake, 19 Sanaila Waqa, 20 Tom Stanley, 21 Ellery Wilson, 22 Billy Rohipa, 23 Shannan Chase.
Waikato: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Jordan Trainor, 13 Chauncy Edwardson, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Dylan Collier, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (c), 8 Josh Tyrell, 7 Mitch Jacobson, 6 Adam Burn, 5 Peni Iowane, 4 James Tucker, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Loni Uhila.
Replacements: 16 Tyrone Te Ruruku, 17 Tau Koloamatangi, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Whetu Douglas, 20 Murray Iti, 21 Harrison Levien, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Jordan Payne.
Referee: Nick Briant