Waikato got their Mitre 10 Cup season off to a blistering start today with a 53-28 win over Wellington in Hamilton.
All Blacks fullback Damien McKenzie showed his class throughout, scoring 33 points, with his trademark running game and a near perfect match with the boot.
A standout performance from debutant Xavier Roe also added to Waikato’s dominance, the young halfback scoring a try just 15 minutes into his first Mitre 10 Cup game.
Roe’s brilliance continued as he went on to set up another try later in the half, sneaking a grubber kick past the Wellington defence with 38-year-old and former All Black Adam Thompson gathering and scoring.
Despite the demoralising final score, a win was still within grasp for Wellington with a promising start and a closely contested first half seeing them trail 23-21 at the break.
In his first game back in the New Zealand Rugby scene, Julian Savea opened the scoring, crashing over the line within the first five minutes after working in tandem with younger brother Ardie.
Their lead was short-lived but a try from Vaea Fifita in the 28th minute and another from Connor Garden-Bachop in the dying moments of the first half kept them in the game.
The second half was a different story however, with Waikato going on to amass a further 30 points and Wellington only scoring once.
Waikato’s second half dominance was highlighted by a full-field try from McKenzie drawing the loudest cheers of the match from what was a sparse crowd.
Waikato will now look to continue their winning momentum as they take on reigning champions, the Tasman Mako, at Trafalgar Park next week.