Tight contest at Eden Park
Saturday, October 30, 2010 Sportal.co.nz Getty Images
The virtue of following high kicks downfield was graphically illustrated in the eighth minute when Chay Raui fielded a 22m drop out after a failed penalty goal attempt by Gareth Anscombe. He put the ball high downfield and joined fellow wing Dave Thomas in chasing hard to catch No. 8 Alex Bradley with the ball. He passed to supporting first five-eighths Trent Renata but he was caught by Raui.
Quick possession from the ruck left huge unguarded areas in the Waikato 22m and second five-eighths Benson Stanley ran hard to secure the try. Anscombe added the conversion.
The first five-eighths almost scored himself soon after when chipping into the Waikato in-goal area and while impeded he didn't gain the support of referee Chris Pollock but soon after he landed a penalty goal.
After Renata landed a second penalty goal in the 27th minute, Waikato stormed back onto attack and ball was well won at the ruck it was moved on quickly for centre Save Tokula to charge hard at the line. While tackled, fullback Sosene Anesi was able to pick up and go over to give Waikato an 11-10 lead.
However, Auckland put the re-start to good use and after a series of rucks, it was halfback Toby Morland who darted around a narrow blindside to feed lock Liaki Moli running down the touchline. He then had the sense to link back infield where Morland was waiting for the pass to score.
Waikato wasn't deterred and stormed back into the Auckland 22m and from a lineout drive it was lock Romana Graham who enjoyed the support of his whole pack in the drive over for the try. Renata's conversion gave Waikato a one-point lead at the break.
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