Hawke's Bay stay unbeaten in Mitre 10 Cup after nail biter against Waikato

Hawke's Bay have kept their unbeaten start to the Mitre 10 Cup intact, holding on for a 27-24 victory over Waikato in Hamilton.

Coming into the match top of the Mitre 10 Cup Championship with four wins and a draw from their opening five matches, Hawke's Bay found themselves squaring off against a Waikato side sitting third in the Premiership division.

First-five Lincoln McClutchie stole the show for the opening points of the match, crossing over for a try after slipping past four tacklers inside the Waikato 22.

McClutchie converted his own effort, before a penalty gave the Magpies a 10-0 lead.

Waikato debutant Solomon Alaimalo got the hosts back into the contest, scoring in the corner, before the Mooloos took the lead right before the break, Quinn Tupea's effort taking the scores to 14-10 at halftime.

A yellow card to Mason Emerson on 38 minutes did Hawke's Bay no favours either.

Tupea had his second after the resumption, taking his try tally to six for the season so far, Waikato now with a 19-10 lead.

However, a series of tries to Hawke's Bay's Folau Fakatava and Pouri Rakete-Stones put the visitors ahead, before Emerson redeemed himself with the game winner.

A late consolation try to Waikato's Simon Parker would have had the Magpies sweating on defence in the final moments, however the Magpies would resist for a narrow three-point win.

The win sees Hawke's Bay extend their lead at the top of the Championship to 12 points, ahead of closest challengers Bay of Plenty after playing one game more.