Waikato returned to the victory trail with a hard-fought 30-25 ITM Cup win over Southland in Hamilton on Thursday.
The home side, who conceded 50 points to Auckland in their previous match on Saturday, staved off a late Southland fightback after leading 13-6 at half-time.
The Mooloo Men didn't always have things going their way and only a late Damian McKenzie penalty secured them victory after Southland came storming back to narrow the gap to two points by the 75th minute.
Both sides crossed for three tries but the goalkicking of Damian McKenzie proved the difference as he added 15 points after slotting three penalties and three conversions.
Declan O'Donnell's converted try in the 36th minute proved the difference between the sides at the interval as McKenzie and Lima Sopoaga had both succeeded with two penalties for their respective teams.
Brad Weber led the Waikato charge in the second half with their second try in the 45th minute but Southland struck back when Keanu Kahukura went over in the corner 10 minutes later.
Waikato extended their lead when Dylan Collier barged over from close quarters shortly afterwards but Southland replied with tries from Dillan Halaholo and Kieran Moffat until McKenzie clinched the Mooloo Men's win with that late penalty.
Tries: O’Donnell, Weber, Collier
Cons: McKenzie 3
Pens: McKenzie 3
Tries: Kahukura, S Halaholo, Moffat
Cons: Sopoaga 2
Pens: Sopoaga 2
Waikato: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Declan O’Donnell, 13 Anton Linert-Brown, 12 Jordan Payne, 11 Dylan Collier, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Adam Burn, 7 Zane Kapeli, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Jacob Skeen, 4 James Tucker, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Epalahame Faiva,1 Josh Holneck.
Replacements: 16 Tyrone Te Rurruku, 17 Atunaisa Moli, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 David Morgan, 20 Mitchell 21 Jacobson, 22 Harrison Levien, 23 Stephen Donald, Wharenui Hawera.
Southland: 15 Junior Ngaluafe, 14 Mike Molloy, 13 Kieran Moffat, 12 Wills Halaholo, 11 Keanu Kahukura, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Liam Howley, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Alex Taylor, 5 Joel Everson, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Dillan Halaholo, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: 16 David Hall, 17 Reuben Northover, 18 Morgan Mitchell, 19 Michael Stewart, 20 Bill Fukofuka, 21 Scott Eade, 22 Ash Moeke, 23 James Schrader