Canterbury 12
Waikato 3

Canterbury have clinched their fourth straight domestic title with a 12-3 victory over Waikato at Waikato Stadium.

In the first tryless final between two New Zealand sides, the match was decided by the boot of Tom Taylor who kicked four penalties to Stephen Donald's solitary effort.

Taylor, came on as a firsthalf replacement for Tyler Bleyendaal who was forced off with an injury after missing a relatively easy penalty attempt.

Advertisement

In a repeat of last year's final, the Mooloos came into the match with plenty of confidence after disposing of their counterparts 27-13 during the round robin.

Their record against the Cantabs may not be one to speak of, yet with five former All Blacks in their ranks the home team started as slight favorites.

Spurred on by an enthusiastic home crowd, they began with a hiss and a roar as they made inroads into Canterbury territory with first-five Stephen Donald going closest; dropping the ball a metre from the tryline.

With all their finals experience, the red and blacks overturned the tide with accurate ball-handling and a strong defence providing a platform for their changing fortunes.

And after conceding an early Donald penalty, Canterbury's Taylor struck three penalties in the second quarter of the firsthalf to go into the break with a six point advantage.

Trailing 9-3 at the break, the opening to the second stanza was played at a frenetic pace as Waikato looked to take a grasp on proceedings.

Introducing Brendon Leonard and Sitiveni Sivivatu to the action with 35 minutes remaining the Mooloos were laying out all their cards on the table.

The All Blacks duo toiled hard for their home team but any hopes of making a significant contribution for a comeback victory were snuffed out by a committed Canterbury side.

Advertisement

Waikato played the majority of the final 20 minutes in the opposition half but their attack was let down by fundamental handling errors and brilliant defence.

Their search of a game-changing try proved unfruitful and Taylor's fourth penalty in the 74th minute sealed the domestic trophy in the Canterbury's cabinet for another season.

CANTERBURY 12 (Tom Taylor 3 pen) bt WAIKATO 3 (S Donald pen) at Waikato Stadium.

- HERALD ONLINE