Waikato 22-14 Taranaki
Taranaki outdone by Waikato
October 13, 2013
Waikato end a disappointing season with a dominant win over Taranaki
© Getty Images
Waikato wrapped up a disappointing ITM Cup campaign with a 22-14 win over Taranaki in Hamilton on Saturday. There was little at stake for either team - fifth and sixth respectively on the premiership ladder - but both teams attacked the game like it mattered.
Forced to defend for long stretches in the first half, Taranaki rarely managed the possession or field position to threaten and were left chasing the game as Waikato continued to run strongly for a 15-0 lead at halftime.
Second five-eighth Jackson Willison added a well-taken try in the 18th minute to Trent Renata's early penalty, Waikato stretching the Taranaki defence to breaking point with quick recycling at the breakdown.
Their second try came as halftime neared, centre Save Tokula making the initial break before quick hands from Weber left Taranaki's defence scrambling. Lock Jarrad Hoeata impeded Waikato No.8 Adam Burn with the try-line open, and the penalty try gave the visitors a 15-0 lead going into halftime.
Waikato capitalised two minutes after the restart with Hoeata still in the sinbin, slick handling and quick footwork from first five-eighth Sam Christie extending the lead to 22-0.
Taranaki gradually worked their way back into the match, helped in no small part by Waikato's ongoing difficulties with their lineout throw.
Centre Seta Tamanivalu's strength and power in the tackle gave Taranaki their first try of the match 15 minutes into the second stanza, then Andre Taylor crossed for the second only minutes later to set up a full-on final 20 minutes.
But although Taranaki continued to pound the Waikato line, their accuracy under pressure with the try line looming was found wanting and the home team held on to close out their season with just their fourth win from 10 matches.