Defending ITM Cup champions Canterbury returned to the victory trail with a 33-11 win over Auckland in Christchurch on Wednesday.
Canterbury - who lost their opening encounter to neighbours Tasman last week - made sure there wasn't a repeat of that result and laid the foundation for this win in the first half.
But it wasn't all plain sailing as Auckland hit the ground running and scored a try in the opening minute. Ben Lam did the finishing after Malakai Fekitoa and Alby Mathewson did excellent work before Lam dotted down in the corner.
Canterbury struck back with Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl and Robbie Fruean combining from deep inside their own half before Andy Ellis finished off.
A Taylor penalty gave his side a 10-5 lead after 17 minutes but Auckland struck back shortly afterwards with a three-pointer of their own from Gareth Anscombe.
Taylor added another penalty in the 25th minute before Ellis scored his second try three minutes later after Ryan Crotty did well in the build-up before offloading to the discarded All Blacks scrum-half who had an easy run-in to the try-line.
Anscombe kept his team in the game with another penalty in the 35th minute which meant Canterbury led 20-11 at half-time.
Taylor succeeded with two penalites after the restart and there was very little attacking action from either side during the second half.
The only try of the half was scored by Willie Heinz, in injury time, after the home side attacked from a scrum on Auckland's five-metre line.
Tries: Ellis 2, Heinz
Cons: Taylor 3
Pens: Taylor 4
Pens: Anscombe 2
Canterbury: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Joel Everson, 4 Dom Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Michael Allardice, 19 Jed Brown, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Telusa Veainu, 22 Sam Monaghan/Rhys Llewelyn.
Auckland: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 George Moala, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Andrew Van der Heijden, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Nathan Hughes, 19 Sean Brookman, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Tony Fenner, 22 Dave Thomas.