Taranaki moved off the foot of the table after registering a 23-10 victory over Hawke's Bay in New Plymouth on Wednesday.
The match was played in atrocious conditions with heavy rain and a strong wind making it almost impossible for the teams to play expansively. Taranaki adapted better, however, and Andre Taylor led the charge for the hosts, scoring 13 points via three penalties and two conversions.
Taylor and Régis Lespinas exchanged early penalties and the score was level at 3-3 for most of the first half until Jamison Gibson-Park scored the game's opening try in the 37th minute. This after running onto a pass from Blade Thomson off the back of a scrum deep inside Hawke's Bay's 22.
Taylor converted and added a penalty shortly afterwards to give Taranaki a 13-3 lead at the break. The second half was a closely fought affair and the hosts only extended their lead in the 56th minute when Taylor added another three-pointer.
The game came alive in the 71st minute when Ope Peleseuma rounded off a fine Taranaki move, after Daniel Brooks and Jackson Ormond combined brilliantly in the build-up. Taylor added the extras and Mark Atkins scored a consolation try for Hawke's Bay, shortly before the end, which Lespinas converted.
Tries: Gibson-Park, Peleseuma
Con: Taylor 2
Pen: Taylor 3
For Hawke's Bay:
Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Jackson Ormond, 13 Andre Taylor, 12 Ope Peleseuma, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Daniel Brooks, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Berny Hall, 6 Mitchell Crosswell, 5 Kane Barrett (c), 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ryan Cocker, 2 Timo Tutavaha, 1 Sione Lea.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Carl Carmichael, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Beaudein Waaka, 22 Avon Lewis.
Hawke's Bay: 15 Gillies Kaka, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Richard Buckman, 12 Bronson Neera, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Régis Lespinas, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Mark Atkins, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 5 Tom Parsons, 4 Johan Schoonbee, 3 Willie Ioane, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Adrian Barone.
Replacements: 16 Jesse MacDonald, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Michael Allardice, 19 Tony Lamborn, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Ihai West, 22 Trinity Spooner-Neera.