A late surge put the icing on a business-like performance from Canterbury as they dismissed the challenge of Manawatu, finishing 42-15 victors in Christchurch on Saturday.
The visitors started the stronger of the two teams and held a 10-0 lead after 16 minutes but the home team gradually found their feet after the sloppy start and took a 15-10 lead into the half-time break.
The bonus point was secured with less than ten minutes remaining when flyhalf Tyler Bleyendaal stepped inside two tackles to cross for his team's fourth try. Centre Robbie Fruean scored two late tries and Manawatu managed a late consolation of their own but none of it had any impact on the final result as Canterbury cantered home comfortably.
Northland fought their way to a gutsy 20-17 National Provincial Championship victory over Otago in Whangarei on Saturday with fullback Lachie Munro playing a starring role.
Both teams scored two tries in this tight encounter but Munro, who took a match-haul of 15 points, proved to be the difference between the teams in what will be seen as a severe blow to Otago's chances of gaining promotion at the end of the season.
Otago managed to score the first try of the game when replacement TJ Ioane got over after 18 minutes to add to flyhalf Tony Brown's early penalty but Northland fought back and captain Joel McKenty was driven over the line just before half-time as the home team took the lead.
Big Otago prop Keews Meeuws powered his way over for his team's second try to make it 17-13, but the lead changed hands once more when Rene Ranger broke the line after a turnover and Munro was on hand to score the crucial try which he converted himself to secure a tight victory for his side.
Canterbury 42-15 Manawatu
Tries: Fruean 2, Heinz, Veainu, O'Connor, Bleyendaal
Cons: Bleyendaal 3
Pens: Bleyendaal 2
Tries: Smith 2
Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (captain), 5 Joel Everson, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Andrew Olorenshaw, 2 Steve Fualau, 1 Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Nepo Laulala, 18 Ash Parker, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Mark Swanepoel, 21 Takerei Norton, 22 Robbie Flynn, 23 Sam Cottam.
Manawatu: 15 Nehe Milne-Skudder, 14 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 13 Lewis Marshall, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Junior Tomasi Cama, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 James Oliver, 7 Doug Tietjens, 6 Nick Crosswell (captain), 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Reece Robinson, 3 David Te Moana, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Grant Polson.
Replacements: 16 Bryn Templeman, 17 Jared Brock, 18 Fraser Stone, 19 Hamish Gosling, 20 Karl Bryson, 21 Lewis Marshall, 22 Casey Stone, 23 Ma'afu Fia.
Referee: Keith Brown
Northland 20-17 Otago
Tries: McKenty, Munro
Cons: Munro 2
Pens: Munro 2
Tries: Ioane, Meeuws
Cons: Brown 2
Northland: 15 Lachie Munro, 14 Simon Munro, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Bryce Heem, 10 Ash Moeke, 9 Wayne Ngaluafe, 8 Cam Goodhue, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Joel McKenty (captain), 5 Marty Veale, 4 Bryce Williams, 3 Scott Vessey, 2 Ross Wright, 1 Justin Davies.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Vaipulu, 17 Aterea Davis, 18 Dan Faleafa, 19 Cameron Eyre, 20 Rhyan Caine, 21 Jack McPhee, 22 Warren Dunn, 23 Jamie Corsi.
Otago: 15 Glenn Dickson, 14 Joe Hill, 13 Ben Atiga, 12 Jayden Spence, 11 Buxton Popoali'i, 10 Tony Brown, 9 Sean Romans, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Eben Joubert (captain), 6 Peter Grant, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Daniel Ramsay, 3 Kees Meeuws, 2 Jason MacDonald, 1 Halani Aulika.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 James McGougan, 18 Rob Verbakel, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Johnny Legg, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Sam Giddens, 23 Scott Manson.
Referee: Ben Skeen
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