Second half costly for Cyclones
The Manawatu Cyclones' semfinal hopes will come down to their final match of the season after they lost 31-8 to Waikato in Hamilton on Saturday.
Waikato scored three second-half tries to kick clear and leave the Cyclones teetering in fourth place on the Premiership ladder with one round to play.
That cruch match will see the Cyclones host impressive Championship side Hawke's Bay on Saturday to secure their first Farah Palmer Cup playoff berth.
For long periods of the first half, it appeared the Cyclones had a shot of getting the job done over Waikato on Saturday.
The Cyclones opened the scoring of the match with a Corrineke Windle penalty kick.
They mounted an aggressive attack for much of the first half but were not able to finish their phases with a first half try.
Waikato’s Chelsea Alley responded with a penalty kick of her own to level the score.
Just before half time, Waikato found themselves over the line through Karli Faneva to take a 10-3 lead into the sheds.
The first half showcased a strong Cyclones attack, however, Waikato was up for the challenge holding the Cyclones out of the try zone.
After 20 minutes of a scoreless second half despite attacking pressure of the Cyclones, the scoring opened for both teams.
Nicola Chase powered over the line for the Cyclones only try of the day.
Waikato would notch 3 second half tries through Chelsea Alley, Calista Wihone and Lonita Ngala-Lavemei earning a bonus point win.
Manawatu 8 (Nicola Chase try; Corrineke Windel pen) Waikato 31 (Karli Faneva, Chelsea Alley, Calista Wihone, Lonita Ngala-Lavemei tries; Alley pen, 4 con) HT: 10-3