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Auckland hold off Waikato to book premiership final spot

Auckland are now confirmed to be playing for the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership next week after holding off a gritty Waikato comeback late in the second half

Waikato struck first with an athletic try from hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho in the right corner, however two quick penalties from Auckland saw the lead change hands.

Auckland's lead didn't last long however with 38-year-old Adam Thompson scoring in the other corner in similar fashion to Taukei'aho.

Auckland scored their first try through Salesi Rayasi in the 25th minute who picked up his 14th try of the season, sitting in first place on the top try scorers with a 7 try lead.

Waikato went into the break with a slim 11-15 lead however Auckland came out firing with two tries in the first ten minutes of the second half.

Tanielu Tele'a scored just two minutes after play restarted, however Auckland's second try stole the show.

Passing through the hands of almost the entire Auckland backline, the home side streaked up the left edge of the field, keeping their momentum rolling with a succession of offloads.

It was Tumua Manu who would ultimately carry the ball accross the line extending the score to 23-15, a lead Auckland would hold for the rest of the match.

Trailing by just five points, Waikato made numerous excursions up the field, looking likely to snatch the lead back in the dying moments.

It wasn't to be however, with Waikato's final attacking chance stifled by Jack Whetton, turning the ball over at the breakdown with just a minute left on the clock.

Auckland will face the winner of the other premiership semi-final tonight, played between Tasman and Bay of Plenty.