Waikato picked up their third straight Mitre 10 Cup victory on Sunday as they got the better of Auckland, prevailing 35-32 at Eden Park.
After two tough Ranfurly Shield defences, the Mooloos continued their run of form to move up to third position in the Premiership standings.
Early tries from Loni Uhila and Sevu Reece got them off to a great start, but Blake Gibson and Greg Pleasants-Tate hit back for Auckland.
It was 15-15 at half-time and following the break the tries continued to come as Epalahame Faiva and Iliesa Ratuva’s two efforts pushed Waikato 35-18 in front before a late fightback from Auckland, which saw Gibson and Patrick Tuipulotu cross, meant the Mooloos had to hold on.
Tries: Gibson 2, Pleasants-Tate, Tuipulotu
Cons: Hickey 3
Pens: Hickey 2
Tries: Uhila, Reece, Faiva, Ratuva 2
Cons: McKenzie 2
Pens: McKenzie 2
Auckland: 15 Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald, 14 Joe Ravouvou, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Pryor Collier, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Leon Fukofuka, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 1 Isi Tu’ungafasi
Replacements: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Tom McHugh, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Joe Edwards, 21 Jono Hickey, 22 Latiume Fosita, 23 Pasqualle Dunn
Waikato: 15 Jordan Trainor, 14 Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Sam Christie, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Whetu Douglas (c), 7 Mitch Jacobson, 6 Jordan Manihera, 5 Brian Alainu’uese, 4 Jacob Skeen, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Loni Uhila
Replacements: 16 Steven Misa, 17 Sefo Kautai, 18 Latu Talakai, 19 Adam Burn, 20 Murray Iti, 21 Harrison Levien, 22 Tevita Taufui, 23 Tyler Campbell
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe