Waikato storm to Farah Palmer Cup glory

Waikato have produced a storming second half to to beat defending champions Canterbury 22-20 in the women’s Farah Palmer Cup final in Christchurch.

Ariana Bayler of Waikato passes under pressure
Photo: Photosport

Both sides were without their Black Ferns, who have been at a training camp, with Waikato missing nine players and Canterbury without six of their best.

Early handling errors cost Waikato dearly, Canterbury lock Lucy Jenkins powering over from a quick tap-and-go to give the home team the lead after just two minutes.

The reliable boot of Isabella Waterman added a conversion and two penalties to give the four-time champions – who had a stiff breeze at their backs – a 13-3 lead at halftime.

Waikato prop Awhina Tangen-Wainohu crashed over soon after the restart, the conversion narrowing Canterbury’s lead to 13-10.

Two yellow cards as the hour mark approached proved costly for Canterbury, Waikato tries coming after first Jenkins then Stacey Niao were binned.

Merania Paraone and Victoria Edmonds powered over for Waikato to take a 22-13 lead into the last 10 minutes, and although Canterbury skipper Steph Te Ohaere-Fox scored a late try, it was too little and too late.

Earlier, Manawatū overwhelmed Hawke’s Bay 55-12 in the championship final, scoring nine tries to win promotion into the premiership division next year.

Ahead 26-5 at half-time in Palmerston North, Manawatū completely controlled the second half, underlining the victory with two tries to winger Alesha Williams in the closing 10 minutes.

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