A referee howler has played a major part in giving Hawke's Bay their fifth win of the Mitre 10 Cup.

Lincoln McClutchie was awarded the first try of the night in the third minute for the Magpies, however his grounding left a lot to be desired.

Retrieving a kick from around the halfway line, McClutchie beat numerous defenders to glide in for what could be the try of the season. He was tackled just short of the tryline, but stretched out to score.

Referee Nick Briant, right on the spot, was happy to award the try without consulting with the television match official.


However, replays showed that instead of a clean grounding it looked like McClutchie bounced the ball and lost control. McClutchie himself even looked disappointed, and barely celebrated his effort.

Lincoln McClutchie loses control of the ball when stretching out to score.
Lincoln McClutchie loses control of the ball when stretching out to score.

Waikato eventually clawed their way back into the match, with a double to centre Quinn Tupaea. They had a lead 19-10 in the middle of the second half, as both sides had a man sent to the sin bin in a game with plenty of questionable decisions and controversial moments.

However the Magpies came home with a wet sail with the McClutchie try proving the difference as they won 27-24, their first win over Waikato since 2008 and first in Hamilton since 1991.

Hawke's Bay remain unbeaten and now sit well clear at the top of the championship ladder, 12 points clear of Otago in second, who have a game in hand.

Waikato, on the other hand, remain right in the middle of the logjam on the Premiership table.

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