Waikato holds off Bay of Plenty

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Saturday, July 31, 2010    Getty Images

Bay of Plenty got back into the game when Waikato lost Jack Lam to the sin-bin when he was wrongly identified for what was described as a dangerous tackle. Bay of Plenty scored but its only chance to advance was lost when replacement back Phil Burleigh was unable to land a long range penalty goal attempt.

As it was it was a crucial 37th minute try to halfback Brendon Leonard which gave his side the lead after first five-eighths Trent Renata had failed with three penalty goal attempts before landing one at the halftime break.

But it was a break by Australian Christian Leali'ifano who fed the supporting Renata at pace. He moved into space and when held he fed the supporting Leonard in for a try beneath the posts. This time Renata landed the conversion.

A penalty goal to Bay of Plenty first five-eighths Danial Waenga was his side's only points in the first half.

Both teams had potential try scoring chances snuffed out. Bay fullback Toby Arnold made a superb break early in the game but in the supporting play the ball was lost. Then with about 15 minutes remaining, a tap penalty by Brendon Leonard opened a chance for centre Save Tokula. He burst through and while tackled he slipped an offload to Leonard but the ball was knocked from his hands and Bay of Plenty clear.

Leonard almost capped off some effective Waikato mauling from a lineout take by lock Romana Graham. The ball was rolled towards the line and then the ball was slipped on the blindside where Leonard dived over in the corner. Unfortunately, the TMO revealed that Leonard was in touch a fraction before grounding the ball.

Renata used his boot to apply pressure on the Bay, keeping it pinned in its own 22m area during the third quarter. However, with No.8 Colin Bourke providing some inspiration with his cover tackling the Bay defence held.

The only points were from a Dwayne Sweeney penalty goal.

And when flanker Jack Lam was wrongly identified for what was ruled a dangerous tackle, resulting in his sin-binning and a Bay of Plenty penalty, the visiting team worked a lineout maul of its own and it was flanker Tanerau Latimer who scored for Phil Burleigh to add a fine conversion from wide out.

Waikato 13 (Brendon Leonard try; Trent Renata con, pen; Dwayne Sweeney pen) Bay of Plenty 10 (Tanerau Latimer try; Phil Burleigh con; Daniel Waenga pen). HT: 10-3