Canterbury completely dominated Taranaki at Rugby Park in Christchurch on Saturday, completely shutting the visitors out on their way to a convincing 27-0 bonus-point win which took them to the top of the standings.
The last time Taranaki won in Christchurch was in 1962 and that run never looked in danger as the Cantabrians efficiently collected their first full five-point haul of points this season.
The homed side got on the board early after right wing Johnny McNicholl finished off a flowing counter-attack sparked by fullback Sean Maitland and they never looked back until powerful centre Robbie Fruean crossed for their fourth try with just five minutes left on the clock.
Auckland showed good fighting spirit in their 25-16 victory over a determined Bay of Plenty side in what was legendary wing Joe Rokocoko's last provincial match at Eden Park.
The All Black flyer is on his way to Bayonne in France and he was given a fitting send-off in this hard-fought win. The home side struck the first blow when centre Hadleigh Parkes crossed after some patient build-up play but Bay of Plenty clawed their way back and drew level just before the break thanks to a converted try from a quick tap by flank Luke Braid.
A late first-half penalty gave the visitors the lead at half-time but second half tries to Stephen Luatua and fullback Dave Thomas put Auckland back in the driving seat and they held off the late pressure from a desperate Bay of Plenty outfit to record a solid victory despite some indifferent form off the kicking tee from young flyhalf Gareth Anscombe.
North Harbour were made to work hard by a resolute Northland outfit but showed good character to clinch a 33-26 National Provincial Championship victory at home on Saturday.
There was little in it in the opening exchanges and North Harbour took a slender 13-12 lead into the half-time break. The home side scored the only try in the first half through fullback Willie Walker who finished well after his side had created an overlap on the right, but the steady boot of Northland goal-kicker Lachie Munro kept the visitors in the game.
Both sides scored two tries in the second half, the first went to North Harbour wing David Raikuna who showed an impressive turn of pace to score shortly after the break.
The visitors responded with tries from replacement No.8 Cameron Goodhue and wing Bryce Heem but North Harbour had the final say when the tournament's leading try-scorer - Mat Luamanu crossed to make the game safe.
Manawatu moved to the top of the Championship standings with a dominant 54-20 win over Waikato which featured a 29-point haul from All Black flyhalf Aaron Cruden.
Manawatu had the four-try bonus point wrapped up in the opening 27 minutes as they took the game by the scruff of the neck and left Waikato scrambling to stay in touch.
James Oliver, Craig Clare, Nick Crosswell and Cruden all crossed for tries in the first half-hour, and a flawless kicking display from the exciting young playmaker ensured that Waikato were engaged in damage limitation for much of the match.
Late first-half tries from Jackson Willison and Save Tokula gave Waikato some sort of hope as they went into the break 17-35 down but four penalties from Cruden's reliable boot and a further try from replacement Lewis Marshall translated into a comfortable victory for Manawatu.
Canterbury v Taranaki
Tries: McNicholl, Maitland, Parker, Fruean
Cons: Bleyendaal 2
Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 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 Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Luke Katene 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Mark Swanepoel, 21 Tom Taylor, 22 Telusa Veainu, 23 Andrew Olorenshaw.
Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Isaia Tuifua, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 Jackson Ormond, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Brett Goodin, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Ben Souness, 5 Craig Clarke (captain), 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Laurence Corlett, 1 Carl Carmichael.
Replacements: 16 Timo Tutavaha, 17 Shane Cleaver, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Chris Walker, 20 Tyson Keats, 21 Jack Cameron, 22 Frazer Climo, 23 Willie Ioane.
Referee: Ben Skeen
Auckland v Bay of Plenty
Tries: Parkes, Luatua, Thomas
Cons: Anscombe 2
Pens: Anscombe 2
For Bay of Plenty:
Pens: Noakes 3
Auckland: 15 Dave Thomas, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 Winston Stanley, 11 George Moala, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Nathan Hughes, 5 Chris Lowrey, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Steve Luatua, 19 Sam Henwood, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Piers Francis, 22 Brent Ward, 23 Tevita Mailau.
Bay of Plenty: 15 Toby Arnold, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Steve Kefu, 11 Jason Hona, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Jamie Nutbrown, 8 Colin Bourke (captain), 7 Luke Braid, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Leon Power, 3 Bronson Murray, 2 John Pareanga, 1 Tristan Moran.
Replacements: 16 Daniel Perrin, 17 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 18Leighton Price, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Josh Hall, 21 Daniel Waenga, 22 Lance MacDonald, 23 Josh Hohneck.
Referee: Richard Kelly
North Harbour v Northland
For North Harbour:
Tries: Walker, Raikuna, Luamanu
Cons: Botica 3
Pens: Botica 4
Tries: Goodhue, Heem
Cons: L Munro 2
Pens: L Munro 4
North Harbour: 15 Willie Walker, 14 Nafi Tuitavake, 13 Rudi Wulf, 12 Brendan Watt, 11 David Raikuna, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Chris Smylie (captain), 8 Mat Luamanu, 7 Scott Uren, 6 Solomon King, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 James King, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Michael Mayhew, 1 Alex Woonton.
Replacements: 16 Manu Leiataua, 17 Taione Vea, 18 Michael Farmer, 19 Sam Hayes-Stevenson, 20 Luke Hamilton, 21 Pita Ahki, 22 Codey Rei, 23 James Afoa.
Northland: 15 Lachie Munro, 14 Simon Munro, 13 Jared Payne (captain), 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Bryce Heem, 10 Aaron Bancroft, 9 Rhyan Caine, 8 Cameron Eyre, 7 Danny Mason, 6 Joel McKenty, 5 Mark Burman, 4 Bryce Williams, 3 Scott Vessey, 2 Ross Wright, 1 Matt Wallis.
Replacements: 16 Tim Dow, 17 Justin Davies, 18 Dan Faleafa, 19 Cameron Goodhue, 20 Wayne Ngaluafe, 21 Ash Moeke, 22 Jack McPhee, 23 Jamie Corsi.
Referee: Keith Brown
Manawatu v Waikato
Tries: Oliver, Clare, Crosswell, Cruden, Tikoirotuma, Marshall
Cons: Cruden 6
Pens: Cruden 4
Tries: Willison, Tokula
Cons: Renata 2
Pens: Renata 2
Manawatu: 15 Nehe Milne-Skudder, 14 Craig Clare, 13 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Frank Bryant, 11 Junior Tomasi Cama, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 James Oliver, 7 Doug Tietjens, 6 Nick Crosswell (captain), 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Fraser Stone, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Grant Polson.
Replacements: 16 Bryn Templeman, 17 Jared Brock, 18 Reece Robinson, 19 Callum Gibbins, 20 Karl Bryson, 21 Dan Kelly, 22 Lewis Marshall, 23 David Te Moana.
Waikato: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Tim Mikkelson, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Declan O'Donnell, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Alex Bradley, 7 Zack Hohneck, 6 Matt Vant Leven, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Nathan White (captain), 2 Marcel Cummings-Toone, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Vance Elliott, 17 Ben May, 18 Chris Middleton, 19 Marty Holah, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Frank Halai, 23 Ted Tauroa.
Referee: Vinny Munro
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.