With rain sweeping down at Yarrow Stadium, Auckland overcame the miserable weather conditions to beat hosts Taranaki 10-0 in New Plymouth on Friday.
The visitors managed a 7-0 half-time lead thanks to a try to flanker Onosa'i Auva'a and handy conversion to Ash Moeke, who went on to add the only points in the second half.
The result kept the Aucklanders in contention for a semi-finals berth while Taranaki now have nothing more than pride at stake in their last two games.
Cold, wet, muddy and windy conditions reduced the contest to a messy arm wrestle, one largely confined to two combative forward packs, who went toe to toe for much of the 80 minutes.
Auckland totally dominated the third quarter everywhere but on the scoreboard, until five minutes from full-time when the visitors forced a penalty inside the 22 for Moeke to convert into points.
Taranaki: 15 Jack Cameron,14 Nathan Hohaia, 13 Paul Perez, 12 Jayden Hayward,11 Shayne Austin, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Brett Goodin, 8 Jarred Hoeata, 7 Ben Souness, 6 John Willis, 5 Craig Clarke, 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Laurence Corlett,1 Tony Penn (c).
Replacements: 16 James Hinchco, 17 Carl Carmichael, 18 Nemia Soqeta, 19 Chris Walker, 20 Bayden Phillips, 21 Ed Jenkins, 22 Asalemo Malo.
Auckland: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Benson Stanley (c), 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Atieli Pakalani, 10 Ash Moeke, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Onosa'i Auva'a, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Andrew van der Heijden, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 John Afoa, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Tevita Mailau.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Jay Williams, 19 Peter Saili, 20 Auvasa Faleali'i, 21 Gareth Arlidge, 22 Chay Raui
Referee: Josh Noonan