Bay of Plenty continued their unbeaten start to the National Provincial Championship season with a dominant 36-8 victory over neighbours Waikato in Rotorua on Tuesday night.
The win puts them eight points clear of their nearest log rivals Wellington and Auckland, but it was the ruthless nature of their victory over Waikato that raised eyebrows at a freezing Rotorua International Stadium.
Flyhalf Dan Waenga claimed 16 points in his team's comprehensive defeat of the Chiefs franchise rivals as Bay of Plenty started strong and did not let up. After slotting an early penalty Waenga played a vital role in the first try.
The Bay of Plenty playmaker burst through the Waikato defence before offloading to centre Phil Burleigh who sent it out to Ben Smith. He drew the last defender to send fullback Toby Arnold over for the try.
The conversion made it 10-0 and Arnold crossed the whitewash again shrotly afterwards to round off a break made by the dangerous Lelia Masaga.
Replacement hooker John Pareanga barrelled over for the third try and the bonus point was sealed when another break from Arnold set up replacement scrumhalf Taniela Moa.
For Bay of Plenty:
Tries: Arnold 2, Pareanga, Moa
Cons: Waenga, Noakes
Pens: Waenga 4
Bay of Plenty: 15 Toby Arnold, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Steve Kefu, 11 Ben W Smith, 10 Daniel Waenga, 9 Jamie Nutbrown, 8 Colin Bourke (captain), 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Luke Andrews, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Leon Power, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Daniel Perrin, 1 Tristan Moran.
Replacements: 16 John Pareanga, 17 Pingi Tala'apitanga, 18 Sam Cane, 19 Luke Braid, 20 Taniela Moa, 21 Chris Noakes, 22 Lance MacDonald, 23 Bronson Murray.
Waikato: 15 Tim Mikkelson, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Rena Schuster, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Trent Renata, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Alex Bradley, 7 Zack Hohneck, 6 Jack Lam, 5 Chris Middleton, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Nathan White (captain), 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Marcel Cummings-Toone, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Romana Graham, 19 Matt Vant Leven, 20 Malcolm Barnes, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Save Tokula, 23 Latu Talakai.
Referee: Mike Fraser
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