Counties Manukau made light work of Wellington on Saturday winning their ITM Cup match 55-7 win in Pukekohe.
The homeside, who are just one place above bottom-placed Wellington in the standings, were in a rampant mood and outscored their visitors seven tries to one.
The win was confirmed in the first half already and the teams changed sides at half-time with the home side already holding a commanding 38-0 lead.
By that time Counties had already secured their try-scoring bonus point after scoring five tries. Augustine Pulu led the way with a brace and Suliasi Taufalele, Frank Halai and Ahsee Tuala also crossed the whitewash.
Pulu got the ball rolling when he scored the opening try as early as the third minute and his second five-pointer was the best of the lot after Halai and Sherwin Stowers had combined superbly in the build-up, before Halai offloaded to his captain, who ducked under a tackle before diving over.
Counties’ 38 points during the first 40 minutes was more than their combined total for first half points scored in their six previous matches this season.
Tim Nanai-Williams – who came on as a replacement for Tuala – got the first points after the break, via a penalty and Wellington eventually broke their duck when Ambrose Curtis scored their only try in the 55th minute after running on to a pass from Matt Proctor deep inside Counties’ 22.
Despite coming off the bench Nanai Williams would have a major impact on the rest of the game and he left his stamp on this game by scoring Counties’ final two tries.
Wellington’s loss – their seventh from seven matches – leaves them in a precarious position at the foot of the table and one more loss will confirm their demotion to the Championship.
They are currently on two points, with three more matches to play, while Counties are second from bottom on 14 points, also from seven matches.
Tries: A Pulu 2, Taufalele, Halai, Tuala, Nanai-Williams 2
Cons: Tuala 5, Nanai-Williams, Stowers
Pens: Tuala, Nanai-Williams
Counties: 15 Sherwin Stowers, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rey Lee-lo, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Ahsee Tuala, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Onosa’i Auva’a, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Ronald Raaymakers (capt), 3 Jarrod Firth, 2 Suliasi Taufalele, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Sione Anga’aelangi, 17 Sean Bagsha, 18 Sikeli Nabou, 19 Sam Henwoood, 20 Kane Hancy, 21 Sam Vaka, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams.
Wellington: 15 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ope Peleseuma, 11 Ambrose Curtis, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Sheridan Rangihuna, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Adam Hill, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Taniela Koroi, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Tolu Fahamokioa.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Eric Sione, 18 Vaea Fifita, 19 Pau Halafihi, 20 Frae Wilson, 21 Tu Umaga-Marshall, 22 TBC.
Referee: Nick Briant