Waikato scored the only try in a bruising ITM Cup clash on Sunday as they beat Counties Manukau 22-15 at Bayer Growers Stadium.
Waikato scored the only try in a bruising ITM Cup clash on Sunday as they beat Counties Manukau 22-15 at a soaked Bayer Growers Stadium in Pukekohe.
The result sees Waikato rise to fifth in the Premiership while Counties stayed fifth in the Championship.
Waikato's victory was meant a winning send off for Aled de Malmanche, who is heading to Stade FranÃ§ais in France.
In awful conditions, with driving rain for most of the day, Waikato fly-half Stephen Donald gave his side the early advantage by converting two early scrum penalties.
Steelers pivot Baden Kerr bent a penalty over but Donald replied and by midway through the half the visitors were ahead 9-3.
The home team enjoyed much more of the play in the final 20 minutes of the half, gaining good line out possession from Tuifua and Chipman. They forced their way on to attack and Waikato were penalised heavily at the breakdown.
Kerr answered with two penalties in the final 10 minutes to even the score at half time.
The Waikato forwards looked to take control the second half, and after a superb break from scrum-half Brendon Leonard, substitute prop Latu Talakai pushed over to put the visitors back in front.
Kerr twice closed the gap with penalties – he made five from five in the conditions – but on both occasions Donald answered .
Pens: Donald 5
Pens: Kerr 5
Counties-Manukau: 15 Sherwin Stowers 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Niva Ta'auso, 11 Tyrone Lefau, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 David Bason, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 DJ Forbes, 6 Taiasina Tuifua, 5 Jamie Chipman (capt), 4 Ronald Raaymakers, 3 Matt Talaese, 2 Grant Henson, 1 Simon Lemalu.
Replacements: 16 Mark Price, 17 Jeremiah Fatialofa, 18 Adam Cathcart, 19 Mark Selwyn, 20 August Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams, 23 Ihipa Thompson
Waikato: 15 Tim Mikkelson 14 Henry Speight, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Declan O'Donnell, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Zack Hohneck, 6 Jack Lam, 5 Chris Middleton, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Nathan White (capt), 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Ted Tauroa.
Replacements: 16 Vance Elliott, 17 Ben May, 18 Matt Vant Leven, 19 Marty Holah, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Latu Talakai