Shield stays in Mooloo Land
REPORT: The iconic Ranfurly Shield, New Zealand's most prized domestic silverware, will stay in Hamilton.
Waikato got off to a flying start and challengers North Harbour failed to close the gap and wrest the 113-year-old trophy from the grasp of the Mooloo Men - who won 26-15 in Hamilton on Saturday.
After 17 minutes of the game, Waikato led 19-0 and it appeared to be game, set and match.
But North Harbour decided that if they were to get value for their bus trip down the Waikato Expressway they might as well chance their arm.
They got back to 15-19 down four minutes into the second half, and they had their chances to advance on that, but handling and passing mistakes cost them dearly while turnovers also denied them at vital stages.
Tries: Boss, Uhila, Apa, Faiva
Cons: Trainor 3
For North Harbour:
Tries: Little, Hall
Waikato: 15 Jordan Trainor, 14 Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, 13 Nathaniel Apa, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Sevu Reece, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Isaac Boss (captain), 8 Jordan Manihera, 7 Murray Iti, 6 James Tucker, 5 Brian Alainu'uese, 4 Jacob Skeen, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Hame Faiva, 1 Loni Uhila.
Replacements: 16 Steven Misa, 17 Latu Talakai, 18 Sefo Kautai, 19 Whetu Douglas, 20 Mitch Jacobson, 21 Pele Cowley, 22 Jason Robertson, 23 Tevita Taufui.
North Harbour: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Afa Faatau, 13 Matt Vaega, 12 Michael Little, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Murphy Taramai, 7 Kane Jacobson, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Brandon Nansen, 4 Gerard Cowley, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Vyron Smith, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Kalem Chan Boon, 17 Adrian Smith, 18 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 19 Connor Collett, 20 Dylan Lam, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Matt Mcgahan, 23 Mark Telea.
Referee: Mike Fraser