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Trainor and Abel doubles highlight Auckland win

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Thursday, August 30, 2018    Campbell Burnes    Getty Images

Alama Ieremia’s charges have made incremental improvements in each game and have now banked 14 points of a possible 15 in the Premiership. Furthermore, they now have as many wins as they managed in the entire 2017 season.

While Auckland’s work was again inconsistent in patches, there was the satisfaction of crossing for five tries and winning the collisions and set-pieces after just a four-day turnaround from Sunday’s victory in Whangarei.

Auckland fullback Jordan Trainor, who looks far more assured in 2018, opened the scoring, finishing a try started by centre Tumua Manu’s chip, chase and regather. Trainor added a second in the second spell off a Harry Plummer crosskick.
 

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While there were plenty of breakdown infringements by both sides, Auckland’s pack started to assert itself, Dalton Papali’i again gave good value on the blindside, while locks Jack Whetton and Fa’atiga Lemalu were able to provide quality ball for the backs. No 8 Akira Ioane looked to be more effective than he had been in the opening two games.

Hooker Robbie Abel had a good night, scoring two tries off lineout drives and impressing with his general play.

Auckland left wing Salesi Rayasi finished in spectacular style for his side’s fifth try.

Waikato right wing Mosese Dawai had beaten Rayasi for the Mooloos’ first try, but thereafter his teammates could not get enough good ball into his hands or those of the dangerous Sevu Reece. Auckland pressure hindered that aim, as did several Waikato errors.

Waikato rallied late with two tries after trailing 35-7, but missed too many tackles and its year-long drought continues.

The Mooloos are back in action next Wednesday night, hosting Wellington in Hamilton, while Auckland welcomes Tasman on Friday week in what is shaping as a key Premiership encounter.

Duane Monkley Medal points:
3:
Robbie Abel (Auckland)
2: Jordan Trainor (Auckland)
1: Melani Nanai (Auckland)

Scorers
Auckland 35
(Robbie Abel 2, Jordan Trainor 2, Salesi Rayasi tries; Harry Plummer con, 2 pen, Jacob Umaga con) Waikato 17 (Mosese Dawai, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Kylem O’Donnell tries; Fletcher Smith con) HT: 20-7 Auckland