Defending champions Canterbury made a strong statement by brushing aside Northland in a 28-13 drubbing in Christchurch.
Northland surrendered a 13-0 lead playing with a strong wind, before Canterbury struck back with two tries towards the end of the first half.
Northland No.8 Cam Goodhue swooped on a loose ball and went over the line to score the opening try, while Lachie Munro kept the scoreboard ticking over with his accurate boot.
However, four well taken tries from Canterbury ended the Taniwhas hopes of ending their 24-year wait for a win over Canterbury in Christchurch. Fullback Johnny McNicholl scored the bonus point try just before the end of the game thanks to a darting run by tom Taylor.
Waikato burst into the lead of the NPC premiership thanks to their 25-10 triumph over Otago.
Building from their midweek victory over Canterbury, the home side used their growing confidence to secure an early lead through the speed of wing Henry Speight.
Additional tries from Brendon Leonard, Declan O'Donnell and Marcel Cummings-Toone took the match away from Otago in a fairly one-sided affair.
While Otago enjoyed long periods of possession inside Waikato's half they struggled to breach the defence, with a try by wing Buxton Popoali'i the only moment of joy during the game.
Canterbury 28-13 Northland
Tries: Osborne, Manu, Romano, McNicholl
Pens: Bleyendaal, Taylor
Pens: Munro 2
Canterbury: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 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 Ash Parker, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Andrew Olorenshaw.
Replacements: 16 Paul Ngauamo, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Joel Everson, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Mark Swanepoel, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Rhys Llewellyn, 23 Paea Fa'anunu.
Northland: 15 Jack McPhee, 14 Lachie Munro, 13 Jared Payne (captain), 12 Aaron Bancroft, 11 Simon Munro, 10 Ash Moeke, 9 Rhyan Caine, 8 Cameron Goodhue, 7 Danny Mason, 6 Cameron Eyre, 5 Mark Burman, 4 Bryce Williams, 3 Scott Vessey, 2 Ross Wright, 1 Justin Davies.
Replacements: 16 Tevita Vaipulu, 17 Aterea Davis, 18 Matt Harrison, 19 Dan Faleafa, 20 Wayne Ngaluafe, 21 Derek Carpenter, 22 Bryce Heem, 23 Jamie Corsi.
Referee: Glen Jackson
Waikato 25-10 Otago
Tries: Speight, Leonard, O'Donnell, Cummings-Toone
Waikato: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Tim Mikkelson, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Alex Bradley, 7 Marty Holah (captain), 6 Matt Vant Leven, 5 Romana Graham, 3 Ben May, 4. Toby Lynn, 2 Marcel Cummings-Toone, 1 Latu Talakai.
Replacements: 16 Vance Elliott, 17 Nathan White, 18 Chris Middleton, 19 Zack Hohneck, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Declan O'Donnell, 23 Ted Tauroa.
Otago: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Jayden Spence, 12 Glenn Dickson, 11 Buxton Popoali'i, 10 Tony Brown (captain), 9 Sean Romans, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Regan Tamihere, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Rob Verbakel, 4 Daniel Ramsay, 3 Kees Meeuws, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 James McGougan.
Replacements: 16 Jason MacDonald, 17 Pieter van der Merwe, 18 Tom Franklin, 19 Adam Hill, 20 Johnny Legg, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Ben Atiga, 23 Scott Manson.
Referee: Mike Fraser
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