24 Sep 2016

Counties Manukau go top of Premiership

5:40 am on 24 September 2016

Counties Manukau have gone to the top of the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership after beating Waikato 35-26 in Pukekohe.

Counties Manukau prop Kalolo Tuiloma.

Counties Manukau prop Kalolo Tuiloma. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Counties Manukau tighthead prop Kalolo Tuiloma crossed for a remarkable hat trick after just 17 minutes to stun Waikato early.

The Mooloos looked fatigued from a brutal Ranfurly Shield challenge against Taranaki and Tuiloma swooped with three well taken tries. It was the first hat trick for a prop in the National Provincial Championship since Wellington's Brian McGrattan in 1984 and left Waikato needing to chase the game.

The victory has taken Counties Manukau to the top of the ladder on 24 points but they have played two more games than second placed Canterbury on 21 points. Waikato have moved to clear fourth ahead of Auckland courtesy of their four try bonus point.

Counties scored five tries to three and led 22-5 at half time.

Canterbury play Otago today.