Fri, 23 Sep 2016
The Counties Manukau Steelers went to the top of the Mitre 10 Cup premiership table after their five try to four victory over Waikato in the Chiefs Derby at ECOLight Stadium.
Big prop Kalolo Tuiloma probably put the game safely in the Steelers’ grasp with a hat-trick of tries in the first 16 minutes, but some inconsistent handling and 13 penalties conceded helped towards three second half tries to the visitors who posed a late threat.
The Steelers however had too much in the bank as they enjoyed a 35-26 win to take over top spot on the ladder pending the results for Taranaki and Canterbury later in the weekend.
The Steelers started fast with Tuiloma crossing for the first of his three first half tries after just three minutes, following a prolonged and expansive attack and an audacious pass from Augustine Pulu.
The big prop added two further tries in similar fashion, looming up on the short side after some long range and aggressive ruck-and-run play from the Steelers.
A Piers Francis penalty pushed them to 19-0 after 18 minutes until Waikato hit back with a try wide out. Tuiloma completed his first half hat-trick after 33 minutes for the 22-5 halftime advantage.
The Steelers managed to extend their advantage with an early second half try to hooker Gafatasi Su’a after a lineout drive from close range before their accuracy with and without the ball started to wane and they gave up too many penalties.
The Steelers still managed to stretch the advantage with a Sione Fifita try for the 35-12 advantage before Waikato rallied with two tries in the final 12 minutes.
Upfront Jordan Taufua was again inspirational on defence and with some strong runs wide out while the front five had the clear advantage at set piece. Augustine Pulu showed up often with his all-round play and some particularly abrasive defence.
After four games in two weeks the Steelers have earned a much needed six-day break before their next clash against Tasman in Blenheim next Thursday.
Assistant coach Grant Henson said their strong start set them up well tonight.
"That hat-trick to Kalolo was really good, but after that it was the little things we did in the build up that went wel. Our breakdown was well controlled and our set piece got us into the game. We just did the simple things well and we defended well with it."
Counties Manukau Steelers 35 (Kalolo Tuiloma 3, Gafatasi Su’a, Sione Fifita tries; Piers Francis 2 pen, 2 cons
Waikato 26 (Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Brad Tucker, Jason Robertson, Steven Misa tries; Sam Christie 1 con, Robertson 2 cons)
Halftime 22-5 Counties Manukau
CMRFU would like to say a big thank you to Barfoot & Thompson, who were tonight’s Match Day Sponsors. Tonight we also supported the Salvation Army Pukekohe in our ‘Charity Match’. Thank you for allowing us to support such a great local charity.
The Steelers next game of the Mitre 10 Cup is against Tasman in Blenheim on Thursday 29 September at 7:35pm.
Our final round robin home game at ECOLight Stadium is against Canterbury on Saturday 15 October at 2:35pm. Tickets for this match are available at www.iticket.co.nz OR at the CMRFU Office during office hours (Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5pm) OR at the Gate on Game Day. Tickets in the Grandstand cost $20 for Adults, $15 for Students and $10 for kids and Kids 13 & Under are FREE on the South Auckland Motors Embankment thanks to Pak ‘N’ Save Pukekohe.