Northland flanker Dan Pryor plunged over for a try in the dying stages as Waikato were stunned 29-27 in a national provincial championship match at Hamilton on Saturday.

The Northland pack sent a perfectly executed rolling maul across the line with just three minutes remaining to set up Pryor's try and level the scores.

First five-eighth Ash Moeke calmly slotted the conversion from wide on the right to register a giant upset against a Waikato side who opened their campaign with a dominant win over North Harbour last week.

Championship side Northland, who were well beaten by Otago in their opener, deserved victory over their Premiership rivals on the basis of a never-say-die attitude.

The lead changed hands several times in a three tries-apiece encounter but the hosts appeared to have secured the decisive moment when wing Declan O'Donnell jinked past two defenders to put Waikato 27-22 up in the 73rd minute.

That was their only try in the second spell after flanker Matt Vant Leven and prop Ben May helped them to a 17-14 lead.

Northland, whose first-half try was a superb solo effort from fullback Fa'atoina Autagavaia, crossed in the second spell through wing Mateo Malupo and Pryor, who was part of an outstanding Northland loose forward trio alongside Dan Faleafa and Hale T-Pole.

Waikato endured a truncated leadup to the match, having to cancel a training session as several players went down with illness or injury.

NZ Newswire

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