Waikato’s ITM Cup season is all but over after losing 20-22 to Manawatu at Waikato Stadium this afternoon.
In a game which had no flow throughout, lack of discipline leading to penalties hindered both sides ability to execute their game plan.
Given the amount of penalties awarded, Waikato’s much talked about kicker Damian McKenzie converted just 5 of his 9 penalty attempts, and chose to run the ball into contact and attempt a try right on the full time buzzer when Waikato had an overlap. Still, blame cannot be put on McKenzie, as the young fly half spotted a gap and went for it.
It could be argued that others in the back line should have called the overlap a little louder.
Manawatu were awarded a penalty desperately defending their own line, handing them the match and effectively ending Waikato’s season.
The game was won for Manawatu in the goal kicking department, with Manawatu not missing a single kick on goal all match while Waikato missed plenty, including two fairly simple kicks early on in the first half.
Joe Webber continued his fine season, scoring Waikato’s only try in the 17th minute.
Moral will be fairly low in the Waikato camp tonight after what coach Johnny Walters described as a poor performance, telling this blog he was “not happy at all” post match.
Waikato will travel to Eden Park next weekend to take on Auckland, but the season is all but gone with just a couple of games to go following todays result.