FIVE IN A ROW: The 2013 Emerald Waitangi Day champions, New Zealand, celebrate their win over the Rest of the World on Saturday night at McIndoe Park.
FIVE IN A ROW: The 2013 Emerald Waitangi Day champions, New Zealand, celebrate their win over the Rest of the World on Saturday night at McIndoe Park. Sam Woods Emewaitangi

NZ reigns supreme in fifth consecutive Waitangi Day title

THEY said it couldn't be done - three consecutive Waitangi Day titles.

Then they won four, and now it's five straight.

The locally based New Zealand side took home another Emerald Waitangi Day win at the weekend, with a 17-6 victory over rugby rivals the Rest of the World.

The annual early season match-up recognises New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi and has been an institution on the Central Highlands Rugby Union calendar for years.

And despite their repeated success, that winning feeling still tastes just as sweet for Kiwi co-coach John Kuavai.

"I don't know what to say… five in a row, it's a credit to the whole team," a near-speechless Kuavai said post-match.

The World had their eye on the prize for much of the game with just four points separating the two sides heading into the final quarter.

Then the Kiwis found their second wind to seal the match with try in the dying stages.

"The spirit just picked up in that last 20 minutes," Kiwi utility and man of the match Jared Watene said.

"They (World) were a bit down and we took control of the game from there.

"As far as man of the match, didn't see that coming but happy to have it."

Watene has missed just one of New Zealand's five Waitangi Day victories but, if you think after four years and four wins he's about to hang up the studs, you best think again.

"I'll see it through to the end - till I retire," he quipped.

"It was a good match; everyone played well.

"At the end of the day we played a bit better than they did so congrats to them, but cheers to us."

World captain Sam Thomasson held similar sentiments.

"I don't think we did anything wrong - they just played better than us," Thomasson said.

"The set piece was lacking and we knew it going to when you've got seven blokes turning up to training and the rest on game day."

Coach Kuavai said the New Zealanders also struggled to gel as a team.

"In those first two quarters it was touch and go but by the third they started to get themselves into it," he said.

Can the Kiwis do it again in 2014? SMS 0467 068 948.


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