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Waikato defend Shield from dogged Manawatu

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/09/2016

Waikato have staved off a staunch Ranfurly Shield challenge from Manawatu, pulling clear in the second half to win 19-10.

In soaking conditions in Hamilton, Waikato fullback Damian McKenzie kicked 14 points as his side fought back from a 10-9 halftime deficit to complete the fifth defence of their current tenure.

Manawatu, whose only Shield reign was a famed 13-match run in the late 1970s, threatened an upset when winger Ambrose Curtis crossed midway through the first half.

First five-eighth Otere Black added a conversion and penalty to trump McKenzie's three penalties.

However, Waikato made fewer mistakes and conceded fewer penalties in the second half, hitting the front in the 53rd minute when second five-eighth Willis Halaholo crossed.

McKenzie, who had a mixed day with the boot, converted and added a penalty soon afterwards to give his team breathing space.

Manawatu, who looked the more dangerous team on attack, suffered their first loss of the NPC season. They remain second behind Otago in the Championship division.

Waikato's second win from three games lifts them level with Auckland and Taranaki in a share of third in the Premiership division.

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