Waikato has scored a 36-13 win over the Counites Manukau PIC Steelers in their Mitre 10 Cup match at FMG Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday night.
A long-range try from fullback Etene Nanai-Seturo highlighted a competitive first half from the PIC Steelers.
They lead 10-5 just prior to halftime but gave up a man to the sin bin for repeated scrum infringements and then a penalty try as the siren sounded for the break.
After conceding again after the break, the PIC Steelers were always chasing the game.
They spent 10 minutes attacking the Waikato line mid-way through the second 40 but were unable to turn that possession and territory into points.
Waikato then managed to kick clear as they scored a brace of tries in quick succession to secure victory and underline their Premiership status.
“I think just execution towards the end there [was what let us down],” skipper Orbyn Leger said. “We had opportunities in their half there but if we let them off the hook a classy side like Waikato will execute every day.”
Leger conceded the yellow card for prop Conan O’Donnell for his side being dominated by the Waikato scrum prior to halftime was crucial.
“It was a little bit influential but we managed to hold them out for a little bit and then we got our man back so I commend our team for hanging in there with 14 men.”
The PIC Steelers head south to take on Otago in Dunedin next Sunday.
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