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Saturday, 26 October, 2002, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Auckland claim top honours
Carlos Spencer
Carlos Spencer scored a try for Auckland
Two tries from Doug Howlett helped Auckland clinch a 40-28 victory over Waikato in the NPC final in Hamilton.

Auckland proved stronger throughout, outscoring their opponents by six tries to three and capitalising on some line-out errors.

Auckland had stunned the defending champions Canterbury in the semi-finals to book their place in the decider.

The victory gives them their first NPC title in three years.


The team showed character to come away with such a good win
Auckland's Xavier Rush

Auckland made the most of the first 20 minutes, building up a 20-3 lead, thanks to three tries.

But with both sides reduced to 14 men after Auckland's Bradley Mika and Sean Hohleck of Waikato were given their marching orders, Waikato came back into the game.

Regan King went over for a try while Bruce Reihana's kicking reduced the lead to just four points (20-16).

But Auckland began the second half strongly and within the first 12 minutes had extended their lead, going 32-16 up with Xavier Rush and Doug Howlett claiming tries.

Howlett captured a loose ball and ran almost 70 metres to secure the try under the post and there was no way back for Waikato after that.

See also:

23 Oct 02 | International
23 Oct 02 | International
23 Oct 02 | International
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