Waikato stun Coun­ties

Manukau Courier - - MILESTONES - AARON GOILE

Waikato have stunned the Coun­ties Manukau Stingrays and surged their way into the rugby league na­tional pre­mier­ship fi­nal, after a 32-18 las­tround vic­tory in Auck­land on Satur­day. The win was Waikato’s only one of the quick­fire three-round round robin, but their points dif­fer­en­tial was good enough to pro­pel them into the de­cider next Satur­day night at Mt Smart Sta­dium against de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons the Akarana Fal­cons. Firstly need­ing Akarana to beat Can­ter­bury at the same venue, Waikato saw that equa­tion come through, then they had to pro­duce the goods in a win­ner-take-all clash with Coun­ties, which they did so valiantly, scor­ing six tries to three in a classy show­ing against much-more fan­cied op­po­nents, who were run­ners-up last year.

Coun­ties Manukau will now fin­ish fourth and will play in the pro­mo­tion/rel­e­ga­tion match ear­lier next Satur­day evening at Mt Smart, against Bay of Plenty, who beat Otago 26-24 in Ro­torua on Satur­day to take out the cham­pi­onship divi­sion.

AT A GLANCE Waikato 32

(Eric Taiulu 3, Aaron Jol­ley, Rei­hana Tai Rak­ena, Mal­colme Noda tries; Aaron Jol­ley 4 goals)

(David Fa’aete’ete, Ge­orge Ed­wards, Howard Brown tries; William Stow­ers 3 goals). 10-12.

Coun­ties Manukau HT: 18

Waikato winger Eric Taiulu scored a hat­trick as his side beat Coun­ties Manukau.

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