Waikato claimed a thrilling 37-25 victory over Wellington in their ITM Cup opener at the Westpac Stadium on Saturday.
Both sides deserve credit for making this clash an entertaining spectacle and their enterprising play delivered nine tries.
Waikato scored six of those with five coming during a dominant first half performance.
Waikato made a perfect start when Damian McKenzie scored the opening try in the fourth minute. The visitors' captain Brad Weber made a stunning break, from just inside the Wellington half and beat four defenders before passing to McKenzie, who got over from close quarters.
Jason Woodward struck back with a penalty for Wellington, two minutes later, but the visitors responded with another try shortly afterwards when Joe Webber crossed over in the left-hand corner after running onto a perfectly-timed pass from Ben Tameifuna inside Wellington's 22.
Wellington's Shaun Treeby then got over the whitewash in the 18th minute after Ambrose Curtis did well to draw in two defenders, deep inside the visitors' 22, before offloading to Treeby, who crashed over for an easy five-pointer.
Woodward added two further penalties, which briefly gave Wellington the lead at 11-10, but McKenzie struck back with a three-pointer of his own to put Waikato back in front.
Wellington tried to fight back, and came close to scoring their second try, but Eric Sione's effort was disallowed for a double movement.
Webber then got his second try, after showing the cover defence a clean pair of heels from 40 metres out - after his forwards won a crucial turnover close to the halfway line - and Waikato got their bonus-point try in the 37th minute when Brayden Mitchell scored from a driving maul at a line-out on the homeside's five-metre line.
The visitors didn't relent and shortly afterwards they scored their fifth try after a moment of brilliance from Anton Lienert-Brown.
The New Zealand U20 representative received the ball on his 22-metre line and showed a superb turn of speed as he beat four defenders before crossing over in the left-hand corner.
McKenzie added the extras which gave Waikato a 30-11 at the interval.
The second half saw more urgency from the homeside but they battled to gain the ascendancy.
The first points of the half only came in the 61st minute when, after a quick tap penalty from 10 metres out, Jared Kahu crossed over for Wellngton's second try.
Woodward added the conversion which meant the hosts were still trailing by 12 points.
Waikato sealed their win when Zak Hohneck crashed over after spotting a gap at a ruck close to Wellington's try-line and Vaea Fifita got a consolation try, in the closing stages, for Wellington which added some respectability to their score.
Tries: Treeby, Kahu, Fifita
Cons: Woodward 2
Pens: Woodward 2
Tries: Webber 2, McKenzie, Mitchell, Lienert-Brown, Hohneck
Cons: McKenzie 2
Wellington: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Ambrose Curtis, 13 Ope Peleseuma, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Tau Mamea, 10 Fa'atonu Fili, 9 Jared Kahu, 8 Brad Shields (c), 7 Adam Hill, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Christian Lloyd, 4 James Wall, 3 Eric Sione, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Tolu Fahamokioa, 18 Taniela Koroi, 19 Henry Stowers, 20 Sheridan Rangihuna, 21 Wes Goosen, 22 James So'oialo
Waikato: 15 Albert Nikoro, 14 Declan O'Donnell, 13 Jordan Payne, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Joe Webber, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (c), 8 Adam Burn, 7 Zak Hohneck, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 David Morgan, 4 Nick Ross, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Loni Uhila.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 James McGougan, 18 Josh Tyrell, 19 Marty Holah, 20 Harrison Levien, 21 Wharenui Hawera, 22 Shayne Anderson.
Date: Saturday, August 16
Kick-off: 18:35 local (07:35 BST, 06:35 GMT)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Shane McDermott
By David Skippers