Week 1

vs Waikato Location CET Arena Saturday, 18 August 2018

Winner: Turbos, 24-19

The Manawatu Turbos got their season off to the perfect start with a bonus-point win over Waikato at CET Arena on Saturday. All four tries went to debutants with Junior ‘Prince of Pace’ Laloifi bagging a brace. Rob Thompson and Faalelei Sione were the other try scorers.

Waikato got things underway positively on attack from the opening minute. Sevu Reece scored within the first five minutes and hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho then got across the line from a rolling maul. While Waikato were hot on attack a number of times, the Turbos defended staunchly. But when the Turbos did get on attack, they were dangerous. Laloifi said it was a special feeling when he found the space to score the opening try. “It was like running on the treadmill,” he said. “I could see the tryline and could see nothing else but the tryline.” Laloifi had plenty of support in the back three with Nehe Milner-Skudder, who shared the duties at fullback.

“We each took turns. I am learning things off him and it is amazing,” he said. The Turbos had a chance late in the half after Antonio Kiri Kiri made a big break, but they couldn’t manage to get across the line meaning they trailed 12-5 at halftime. In the second half the Turbos continued to run Waikato across the field.

They draw level when Sione dove on the loose ball after the referee ruled it had been stripped out of a teammates hands rather than knocked on.Thompson scored in the left corner to give the Turbos their first lead of the match. But Waikato fought back with a 60m effort finished off by Declan O’Donnell.

Laloifi picked up the final try, which proved to be the match-winner, with four minutes to play. Laoifi said he was already looking forward to the next match. “Winning the first, game is good so we can build off that and how good is playing for the Ranfurly Shield next week?”

Manawatu Turbos 24 (Junior Laloifi 22, Faalelei Sione, Rob Thompson tries; Jade Te Rure con, Sam Malcolm con) Waikato 19(Sevu Reece, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Declan O’Donnell; Fletcher Smith 2 con) HT: 12-5 Waikato