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Taniwha surprise Waikato with thumping win

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/10/2016
Solomon Alaimalo of Northland, File Photo. © Dianne Manson/Getty Images Solomon Alaimalo of Northland, File Photo.

Northland have won their first NPC game for two years after Waikato proved unable to recover from a disastrous first half in Whangarei.

The Taniwha won 48-27 in the far-northern sunshine, running in five tries to four and completely controlling the opening 40 minutes.

An improved second stanza from the Mooloos, in which they scored thrice, ultimately came to naught and leaves them second-last in the NPC premiership.

The loss will be a particularly bitter pill to swallow after surrendering the Ranfurly Shield to Canterbury on Wednesday.

Northland, meanwhile, jump to sixth in the championship division with their first win since October 2014.

The home side got off to a dream start as winger Jordan Hyland went over in the corner in the fifth minute.

Northland and Waikato then traded penalty goals before Taniwha tighthead Phil Kite barged over from a metre out in the 17th minute to extend his side's lead to 12.

Playmaker Peter Breen nailed a long-range penalty goal to put Northland ahead by 15, before No.8 Matt Matich finished a Jone Macilai breakaway for another try.

Waikato then blew a golden opportunity to score with a forward pass before finally crossing the line through fullback Jordan Trainor in the 34th minute.

The Cambridge Blues subsequently rounded off an excellent opening stanza by going over through Macilai with a minute left in the half.

The 32-8 half-time lead was fully deserved by Northland, who looked the far better side over a listless Waikato.

"We just haven't put any phases together," Mooloos first-five Sam Christie said at half-time.

Waikato responded by nabbing a try early in the second half, as winger Iliesa Ratuva took advantage of a strong Mooloos rolling maul to score under the posts.

The Mooloos then pegged back another try when tighthead Sosefo Kautai crossed in the corner in the 51st minute.

A treble of Northland penalties gave the side some breathing space as the minutes ticked away, before Waikato No.8 Whetu Douglas scored his side's third of the half.

Cambridge Blues second-five Dan Hawkins then squeezed past three defenders to end the match as a contest.

Skipper Matt Moulds said his side were motivated by the death of a lifelong Northland fan during the week.

"It's awesome to get one over the line," the 25-year-old hooker said.

"We got it right tonight."

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