Waikato have completed their first successful defence of the Ranfurly Shield after a stunning second half performance against Hawke's Bay in Hamilton tonight.
The two Championship sides were locked in a close battle at halftime with Waikato hold a 21-15 lead.
They managed to earn that lead thanks to a yellow card given to Pasqualle Dunn just 12 minutes into the match when the Magpies midfielder made his second dangerous tackle minutes after his first.
That gave Waikato a chance to strike and allowed them to nullify an early try to Brad Weber and build a 14-10 lead before the sides traded blows late in the half.
But it was all one way traffic in the second 40 minute block as Waikato piled in three tries in 11 minutes to lock the Log o' Wood away.
Their final try was a sublime effort from the entire team as three offloads set up reserve Raniera Takarangi to dive over the line and push the lead to 42-15 with nine minutes left.
Hawke's Bay managed a late consolation try but it didn't change the fact they were dominated at the lineout and breakdown throughout the match, leading to the big loss.
The result sees Waikato continue their climb after their horrid start to the season, sitting top of the Championship table with their third-straight win six matches.
Hawke's Bay sit directly under them, although they do have a game in hand having taken three wins in their first five games of 2018.
One thing they don't have though is the Ranfurly Shield which Waikato won't defend again for another two weeks until Southland comes to town.