Leave it to Beaver: Stephen Donald's late game heroics steal the show in Wellington

It may be five years since he slotted the match-winning penalty goal in the Rugby World Cup final against France at Eden Park to end a 24-year World Cup drought, but Stephen Donald proved he still knows exactly what to do when his number is called.

Donald came up with the goods to steal a 28-24 Waikato win against Wellington at Westpac Stadium last night.

Trailing 24-21 with just four minutes remaining, Waikato broke into the home side's half as reserve prop Atu Moli broke the line to put hooker Steven Misa into space and get past the halfway line, before passing the ball onto loose forward Mitch Jacobson.

Jacobson carried the ball for 15 meters before offloading to recent All Blacks debutant Damian McKenzie just outside the 22 metre mark.

McKenzie sucked in three defenders as he received the ball, freeing up space for Donald, who had nothing but pasture in front of him as he galloped over to secure the win for the Mooloos.

The match-winning feat adds another chapter to the rollercoaster story of the 32-year-old first-five, who is currently in his second stint with Waikato after signing with the province last year.

After returning to Waikato from Bath and the Mitsubishi Dynaboars, the star of the 2011 Rugby World Cup final was picked up by the Chiefs for the second time in his career ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season as a wider training squad member.

Although his chances were limited for the two-time champions, who finished as semi-finalists this year, Donald shone as captain in their mid-week fixture against the touring Wales side during the international break, setting up two tries and kicking at 100% to win man-of-the-match in a historic 40-7 demolition of the 26-time Six Nations winners.

Waikato currently sit in the fourth play-off spot in the Premiership heading into the final day of the regular season of the Mitre 10 Cup, and are relying on Championship side Southland to gain a result over Tasman to ensure they will be playing a semi-final against Canterbury in Christchurch next week.

- NZ Herald

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