Canterbury consolidated their position at the top of the standings when they beat Taranaki 39-34 in New Plymouth on Sunday.
As the scoreline suggests, this was an entertaining affair and Canterbury outscored their hosts by five tries to four with the visitors' captain, Luke Whitelock, leading the way with a brace of five-pointers and Jordie Barrett finished with a 19-point haul courtesy of a try, four conversions and two penalties.
An early Barrett penalty put the visitors in front and they soon extended their lead when Jack Stratton crossed the whitewash. Taranaki struck back via a Rhys Marshall try after Marty McKenzie did well in the build-up.
Whitelock went over for his first try late in the half but a Iopu Iopu-Aso five-pointer meant Taranaki hled a slender 18-17 half at the break.
Barrett scored his try shortly after the restart before two McKenzie penalties drew the sides level at 24-24. Whitelock then scored his second try but Taranaki stayed in the match thanks to tries from Stephen Perofeta and Toa Halafihi.
Canterbury didn't panic though as accurate goalkicking from Barrett and a late Richie Mo'unga try sealed their win.
Tries: Marshall, Iopu-Aso, Perofeta, Halafihi
Pens: McKenzie 4
Tries: Whitelock 2, Stratton, Barrett, Mo'unga
Cons: Barrett 4
Pens: Barrett 2
Taranaki: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Declan O'Donnell, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Sean Wainui, 11 Latu Vaeno, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Kylem O'Donnell, 8 Iopu Iopu-Aso, 7 Berny Hall (c), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Leighton Price, 4 Ben Matwijow, 3 Ryan Cocker, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Mitchell Graham
Replacements: 16 Sione Lea, 17 Jared Proffit, 18 Reuben O'Neill, 19 Lachlan Boshier, 20 Toa Halafihi, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Johnny Fa'auli, 23 Jackson Ormond
Canterbury: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Nathan Earle, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Jordie Barrett, 11 George Bridge, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Luke Whitelock (c), 7 Jed Brown, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 David McDuling, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Nathan Vella, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Oli Jager, 19 Dominic Bird, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Jack Stratton, 22 Richie Mo'unga, 23 Inga Finau
Referee: Glen Jackson