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Counties prop bags winning hat-trick

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/09/2016

Prop Kalolo Tuiloma has bulldozed across for an early hat-trick in Counties Manukau's 35-26 NPC win over Waikato. © SNPA/Ross Setford Prop Kalolo Tuiloma has bulldozed across for an early hat-trick in Counties Manukau's 35-26 NPC win over Waikato. Hulking prop Kalolo Tuiloma has scored one of the more remarkable NPC hat-tricks as Counties Manukau beat Waikato 35-26 to go to the top of the Premiership standings.

The 140kg tighthead, nicknamed "The Bulldozer", barged across for three tries in the first 16 minutes to set up an important win in Pukekohe on Friday night.

Waikato finished strongly but couldn't make up the deficit against a home side who dominated up front.

Their five tries-to four win puts Counties Manukau on top early in round six although they could yet be surpassed by Canterbury and Taranaki.

Tuiloma's heroics came a night after another young front-rower, Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua, scored a match-winning hat-trick against Northland.

Four of Counties Manukau's tries came from tight forwards, with Gafatasi Su'a dotting down just after the break.

Winger Sione Fifita scored an important try midway through the second spell, with Waikato hitting back late through tries to reserves Steven Misa and Jason Robertson.

The visitors' earlier tries were scored by winger Iliesa Ratuva and lock Brad Tucker.

Waikato, who were unbeaten in their previous four games, picked up a bonus point to move to fourth outright.

They face a testing Ranfurly Shield defence against Canterbury next week, while Counties Manukau will pursue a third straight win when they travel to Tasman.

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