Mitre 10 Cup

Hawke's Bay relegated, Counties Manukau snatch late win

Hawke's Bay will be relegated from the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership following a 46-22 defeat to fellow strugglers Waikato on Saturday.

Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara scored two of Waikato's six tries in Hamilton as the hosts kept their slim hopes of securing a semi-final berth alive.

The visitors showed impressive character to halve the 24-point deficit they faced at the break, but were ultimately left with too much to do.

Counties Manukau moved up to second place in the Premiership courtesy of a dramatic 16-14 victory over Otago in Dunedin.

Otago, who bizarrely brought their backline into a lineout on one occasion, looked set to prevail after converted tries from Craig Millar and Naulia Dawai enabled them to lead by four points with 15 minutes remaining.

However, Joe Reynolds kicked a penalty to narrow Counties Manukau's deficit, before splitting the posts again in the final minute, ensuring his side avoided a third one-point defeat of the season.

The battle between the bottom two sides in the Championship saw Southland beat Northland 39-31 to leapfrog their opponents.