A hat-trick from Rieko Ioane helped Auckland to a 44-38 victory against Bay of Plenty in the Mitre 10 Cup on Sunday.
The teenager went over three times at Rotorua International Stadium to help his team to a hard-fought win in wet conditions.
Joe Tupe also scored a hat-trick, but Auckland were in control until the closing stages when the hosts closed in.
Tupe crossed twice to put them within striking distance, only for Melani Nanai to score a crucial try for Auckland.
Thanks to their win, Auckland sit fourth in the Premiership Division - while Bay of Plenty are fifth in the Championship.
North Harbour gave their play-off chances a boost with a 35-14 win over Southland at a wet QBE Stadium.
Tevita Li crossed for two tries for the winners, who now sit fourth in the Championship following the bonus-point victory.