Taranaki consolidated their place amongst the frontrunners on the Mitre 10 Cup table after claiming a 30-14 win over Southland in New Plymouth on Thursday.
Taranaki dominated for large periods and outscored their visitors by three tries to one, and Marty McKenzie contributed 15 points thanks to three penalties and three conversions.
The win moves Taranaki into joint second place with Auckland in the Premiership standings while Southland are in last position on the Championship table.
The game came alive in the eighth minute when Sean Wainui opened the scoring for Taranaki after charging down an attempted clearance by Greg Dyer inside Southland's 22.
Wainui still had work to do but did well to regather the ball before diving over under the posts. Dyer reduced the deficit to a point with two penalties in quick succession but McKenzie replied with two penalties of his own which gave the home side a 13-6 lead at half-time.
Five minutes into the second half, Ben Matwijow crossed for Taranaki's second try after running onto a pass from Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi close to the visitors' tryline.
McKenzie added the extras before slotting his third penalty five minutes later and Taranaki sealed the win in the 66th minute when Lachlan Boshier barged over for their third try from close quarters in the 66th minute.
To their credit, Southland didn't surrender and were rewarded shortly before the end when Jason Rutledge crossed for a consolation try.
Tries: Wainui, Matwijow, Boshier
Cons: McKenzie 3
Pens: McKenzie 3
Pens: Dyer 3
Taranaki: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Beaudein Waaka, 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Johnny Fa'auli, 11 Declan O'Donnell, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Iopu Iopu-Aso, 7 Berny Hall (c), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Leighton Price, 4 Ben Matwijow, 3 Reuben O'Neill, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Mitchell Graham
Replacements: 16 Sione Lea, 17 Jared Proffit, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Lachlan Boshier, 20 Toa Halafihi, 21 Kylem O'Donnell, 22 Isaia Tuifua, 23 Jackson Ormond
Southland: 15 Junior Ngaluafe, 14 Mike Molloy, 13 Kieran Moffat, 12 Dylan Collier, 11 Jaye Thompson, 10 Greg Dyer, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Josh Clark, 7 Wade McRae, 6 Bill Fukofuka, 5 Mike Stewart, 4 Mike McKee, 3 Morgan Mitchell, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Peni Ravai
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Shaun Stodart, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Phil Halder, 21 Jahvis Wallace, 22 Tauasosi Tuimavave, 23 Keanu Kahukura
Referee: Brett Johnson