New Zealand Cup
Hawke's Bay outclass Waikato
September 20, 2008
Zac Guidford got amongst the tries for Hawke's Bay
© Getty Images
Hawke's Bay continued their relentless drive towards a home quarterfinal with a deserved 24-15 defeat of Waikato in Napier today.
The playoffs are looking an increasingly dubious prospect for Waikato, who never led and were outscored four tries to two at McLean Park.
Hawke's Bay snared a bonus point and effectively sealed their sixth win in eight games when winger Zac Guildford dashed over for their fourth try with 15 minutes remaining.
There was no more scoring in a match which became increasingly scrappy as it wore on.
The best rugby was played by the hosts in the first half, who opened up a 19-5 lead courtesy of some dominant work from the forwards and some slick back play from the likes of fullback Israel Dagg, centre Jason Shoemark and winger Zac Guildford.
Waikato were eighth coming into this weekend with just two wins to their name and the lack of a bonus point tonight is a hammer blow in a poor campaign.
They never looked like beating the side who eliminated them in the quarterfinals last year and who have beaten then four from four times in three seasons.
The winning margin would have been greater if second five-eighth Sam Giddens had landed more than two of his seven shots at goal.
Hawke's Bay opened the scoring through prop Sona Taumalolo, after a neat pass from outstanding hooker Hikawera Elliot.
Second five-eighth Callum Bruce responded for Waikato after a break from first five Trent Renata.
Shoemark snaffled a loose ball and scorched 50m for a memorable score fending off winger Henry Speight more than once along the way before teammate and winger Jason Kupa crossed on the half hour after quick hands.
Waikato halfback Malcolm Barnes scored from an angled kick soon after the break. It was converted by Bruce, who landed a penalty with 20min remaining to lift his team to within four points.
Result of an Air NZ Cup rugby match in Napier today:
Hawke's Bay 24 (Sona Taumalolo, Jason Shoemark, Jason Kupa, Zac Guildford tries; Sam Giddens 2 con) Waikato 15 (Callum Bruce, Malcolm Barnes tries; Bruce pen, con). Halftime: 19-5.