Taranaki picked up their first win of the ITM Cup season on Wednesday as they saw off Counties Manukau 17-10 at Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth.
On the back of three successive losses, the competition holders desperately needed this victory in order to kick start their slow-starting title defence.
The win moves them provisionally up to fourth in the table as they overtake the Steelers and Auckland, moving seven points behind league leaders Tasman.
A low-scoring first-half saw the two teams go in at the break locked up at 3-3, with opposing tens Piers Francis and Cody Rei slotting respective penalties.
But after the turnaround the 'Naki clicked into gear as centre Seta Tamanivalu crossed in the 44th minute before full-back Kurt Baker went over on the hour.
17-3 became 17-10 as Counties number eight Maama Vaipulu scored with eleven minutes remaining but Taranaki held on for a priceless four points.
Tries: Tamanivalu, Baker
Con: Rei 2
Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Latu Vaeno, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai (c), 11 Jackson Ormond, 10 Cody Rei, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Iopu Iopu-Aso, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Mitchell Crosswell, 5 Blade Thomson, 4 Mitchell Brown, 3 Angus Taavao-Matau, 2 Sione Lea, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Reuben O'Neill, 18 Ryan Cocker, 19 Riki Hoeata, 20 Berny Hall, 21 David Ormrod, 22 Liam McBride, 23 Sean Wainui.
Counties Manukau: 15 Jared Page, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Sam Vaka, 12 Jonathan Faauli, 11 Sione Fifta, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Richard Judd, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Jordan Taufua, 6 Daniel Hyatt, 5 Jimmy Tupou (c), 4 Mike Lawrenson, 3 Sam Aiono, 2 Gafatasi Su'a, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Sione Anga'aelangi, 17 Sean Bagshaw, 18 John Tu'ungafasi, 19 Sikeli Nabou, 20 Sam Henwood, 21 Kane Hancy, 22 Nathan de Thierry, 23 Cardiff Vaega.
Referee: Nick Briant