Otago's horror ITM Cup season continued in Dunedin on Thursday, after they were beaten 25-15 by Taranaki - their fifth defeat on the trot.
While the result keeps the home side firmly rooted at the bottom of the standings, Taranaki's fourth successive win lifted them from fourth to at least a temporary place atop the points table.
The Amber and Blacks' victory was all but secured thanks to two quick tries that put them in a commanding 14-0 lead ten minutes into the game.
Full-back Beauden Barrett crossed over first from a set move after wing Andre Taylor almost made it to the line, and Taranaki lock Craig Clarke notched the second after a defensive botch-up by Otago enabled Taylor to toe the loose ball through for his captain to score.
Otago responded with just one Glenn Dickson penalty, before Taranaki scored their third in the 31st minute - this time Taylor managed to bag one of his own thanks to a long cut-out pass from Barret which gave him a clear run to the corner to make it 19-3.
The second half saw Otago turn the tables with two early tries to forwards Halani Aulika and Hoani Matenga closing the margin to ten points, however this is all the team could muster.
Fly-half Willie Ripia landed his second penalty with fouteen minutes remaining to give Taranaki some breathing space before they unsuccessfully pushed for a bonus-point fourth try.
Tries: Aulika, Matenga
Tries: Barrett, Clarke, Taylor
Cons: Ripia 2
Pens: Ripia 2
Otago: 15 Ben Smith 14 Joe Hill, 13 Josh Tatupu, 12 Andrew Parata, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Glenn Dickson, 9 Sean Romans, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Alando Soakai (c), 6 Brad Cameron, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Hoani Matenga, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Peter Mirrielees, 1 Kees Meeuws.
Replacements: 16 Wyatt McKay, 17 Sam Hibbard, 18 Seko Kalou, 19 Peter Grant, 20 Johnny Legg, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Chris Small.
Taranaki: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Andre Taylor, 13 George Pisi, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 Kurt Baker, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Ben Souness, 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Chris Walker, 5 Craig Clarke (c), 4 James Broadhurst, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Timo Tutavaha, 1 Shane Cleaver.
Replacements: 16 Carl Carmichael, 17 Damian Horgan, 18 Kane Barrett, 19 Samuela Vunisa, 20 Brett Goodin, 21 Codey Rei, 22 Isaia Tuifua.
Referee: Keith Brown