Canterbury steamroller Hawke's Bay, Waikato hold off Auckland
League leaders Canterbury's dominance in the Mitre 10 Cup showed no signs of abating as they hammered Hawke's Bay in an eight-try 63-7 demolition.
Luckless Hawke's Bay had yet to win in this season's competition before they met a Canterbury side that have steamrollered all comers and it was no different in Christchurch on Sunday.
Tries from George Bridge and Scott Barrett - brother of New Zealand star Beauden - plus 13 points from the boot of Richie Mo'unga helped the hosts to a 23-7 half-time lead, with Jonah Lowe's converted score putting the visitors on the board.
It was in the second half that Canterbury really blew their opponents out of the water, though, with 40 unanswered points.
Rob Thompson scored twice, while Dominic Bird, Ben Funnell, Nathan Earle and Jordie Barrett all touched down as Canterbury ran riot to make it four wins from four.
Also on Sunday, Waikato twice held off Auckland fightbacks as the visitors ran out narrow 35-32 victors.
Tries from Loni Uhila and Sevu Reece, plus five points from Damian McKenzie, put Waikato 15-0 ahead, but a sin-binning for Uhila changed the complexion of the first half and Auckland were level at the break thanks to scores from Blake Gibson and Greg Pleasants-Tate.
Simon Hickey had also kicked five points for Auckland and his early second-half penalty briefly put the home side in front, before McKenzie's boot levelled things once more.
Waikato had seemingly pulled clear through Hame Faiva's score and a brace for Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, but Auckland ensured a nervy ending with late tries from Gibson and Patrick Tuipulotu.