It was Waimate’s day at a foggy Manchester Park, with a superb second half defensive effort keeping Harlequins at bay 25-15.
It is the closest and most unpredictable competition for many years and the semifinalists may only be decided in the final round-robin game. Waimate’s victory was a real boost as it sees them leapfrog Harlequins and be tied in third place with Celtic.
At Manchester Park, Waimate started with a penalty to Theo Davidson before Harlequins burst into life with two tries, three minutes apart.
Harlequins midfielders Hau Kaumatule and Paulo Fifita made a great break and got the visitors close before prop Telusa Latu showed all his skills to put in the perfect cross kick for No 8 Sam Vea to score in the corner.
Kaumatule put his side back on attack and then a charging run by prop Timaru Tafa got them close, with hooker Nathan Tubb scoring and Scott Norton adding the extras for a 12-3 lead.
Just when it looked like Harlequins might run away with it, Waimate found some rhythm and put pressure on the visitors, who gave away four kickable penalties as they showed too much ill-discipline.
Davidson made no mistake, landing them all to give his side a 15-12 lead.
The second half was an arm wrestle until mid-way through when Waimate’s Irish import, fullback Stephen Macauley, broke free 60 metres out and straightened up to score an excellent individual try, with Davidson adding the extras.
Two minutes later Norton landed a penalty to get Harlequins back within seven points.
They then threw everything at Waimate, including more than a dozen phases less than five metres out, but they could not crack the line.
Davidson had the last say with his sixth penalty to make the game safe and give the Wallabies a deserved win.
For the hosts it was a superb team effort, from props Shannon Howe and Toko Fakatava to Macauley at the back.
Davidson was superb in his all round game, while ex-Hurricanes Super Rugby utility Billy Guyton helped stiffened the backline defence and wasn’t afraid to run at the line.
First five Kurt Rooney also had a tidy game, taking good options.
Harlequins were directionless at times but Vea was a standout in the pack, and Kaumatule also impressed.