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Wellington have cemented their position at the top of the championship table with a 34-10 win over premiership outfit Waikato in an NPC cross-over match.

After a lacklustre first half, Wellington piled on 24 unanswered second-half points in Hamilton on Saturday to secure their sixth win from seven matches this season.

Coming off a high after last week's 60-14 thumping of premiership leaders Canterbury, Wellington struggled for fluency for much of the first spell.

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Fortunately Waikato couldn't capitalise, despite plentiful possession and good field position.

Wellington survived with 14 men almost unpunished when hooker Asafo Aumua was yellow carded in the 11th minute for no-arms tackle on wing Iliesa Ratuva.

A Sevu Reece penalty just before Aumua returned matched Daniel Kirkpatrick's early strike and a 3-3 deadlock looked likely as half-time neared.

But tries first to lock Sam Lousi for Wellington and then Waikato centre Bailyn Sullivan in the last five minutes resulted in a 10-10 scoreline at the break.

Wellington edged ahead soon after the restart when Kirkpatrick scored from a Thomas Umaga-Jensen break, but looked in trouble when they lost Regan Verney to a yellow card after 56 minutes.

But his absence sparked Wellington into life, flanker Mateaki Kafatolu and Umaga-Jensen both scoring before the second five-eighth returned.

Alex Fidow smashed over for Wellington's fifth soon after, the championship leaders then looking comfortable in closing out the final 10 minutes for the win.

- NZN

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