Counties Manukau moved to the top of the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership table with a 35-26 win over Waikato on Friday.
Counties were quick out of the blocks thanks to a hat-trick by tighthead prop Kalolo Tuiloma inside the first 17 minutes of the match. All three Tuiloma's tries were strong carries from close range as Counties used him brilliantly to get them over the advantage line and on the front foot.
A 19-0 lead is imposing at any level and Waikato struggled to recover from the early setback with the catch-up rugby required proving too big a task.
They did manage to score a try in the first half but Counties scored their fourth try right after half-time to pile the pressure on the opposition.
With a commanding 35-12 lead Waikato struck twice in the space of eight minutes to reduce the deficit to 35-26, but there was never going to be enough time for them to get a result out of the game.
For Counties Manukau
Tries: Tuiloma 3, Su'a, Fifita
Cons: Francis 2
Pens: Francis 2
Tries: Ratuva, Tucker, Misa, Robertson
Cons: Christie, Robertson 2
Counties-Manukau: 15 Luteru Laulala, 14 Sione Fifita, 13 Sam Vaka, 12 Cardiff Vaega, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Sootala Fa’aso’o, 7 Jordan Taufua, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Viliame Rarasea, 3 Kalolo Tuiloma, 2 Gafatasi Su’a, 1 Sean Bagshaw
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Faletau,19 Matt Vaai, 20 Onosa’i Auva’a, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Nathan de Thierry, 23 Joe Ikenasio
Waikato: 15 Tyler Campbell, 14 Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Tevita Taufui, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Harrison Levien, 8 Whetu Douglas (c), 7 Mitch Jacobson, 6 Adam Burn, 5 Brian Alainu’uese,4 Brad Tucker, 3 Josh Iosefa-Scott, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Latu Talakai
Replacements: 16 Steven Misa, 17 Tau Koloamatangi, 18 Ayden Johnstone, 19 Leva Fifita, 20 Murray Iti, 21 Pele Cowley, 22 Jason Robertson, 23 Milford Keresom