Taranaki recorded an upset win on the road on Sunday as they held on to defeat Waikato 33-23 in the ITM Cup.
The hosts were made to pay for letting the 'Naki go in 27-9 at the break and were even denied a bonus-point when Beauden Barrett kicked a late penalty.
It was Waikato's first defeat of 2010 as they missed the chance to move top of the standings while the away side now climb to an impressive fourth.
But in a way Nathan White's side shot themselves in the foot and none more so than when forwards Romana Graham and Liam Messam were both yellow-carded for punching on the hour. That blunder ultimately proved costly as they could not continue what was looking like a strong comeback charge.
The early advantage for the 'Naki began in somewhat comical circumstances when Willie Ripia's penalty attempt struck a post before Kurt Baker sent Andre Taylor over for a superb finish from the winger. Ripia added the extras before Trent Renata posted three points of his own as Waikato got themselves on the board.
Renata kicked a further six points soon after to Ripia's further three to make the scores 10-9 to Taranaki, which was how it stayed until the half-hour.
Again it was the combination of Baker and Taylor that stole the show for the visitors, this time the roles were reversed and with Ripia's conversion going over before he added three more points, the lead was extended to 20-9.
Scott Waldrom then went over for their third score of the half before controversy struck at Waikato Stadium when Dwayne Sweeney had a try disallowed on 50 minutes. It was adjudged that Save Tokula had put a foot in touch.
Waikato did mount that fightback in the end but it proved insufficient as a try from Graham and then Tokula was not enough for the Mooloo men.
Tries: Graham, Tokula
Cons: Renata 2
Pens: Renata 3
Tries: Taylor, Baker, Waldrom
Cons: Ripia 3
Pens: Ripia 3, Barrett
Waikato: 15 Sosene Anesi, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Dwayne Sweeney, 10 Trent Renata, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Alex Bradley, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Nathan White (c), 2 Vern Kamo, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche/Andre Ellison, 17 Hikairo Forbes, 18 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 19 Matt Vant Leven, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Tim Mikkelson, 22 Sam Christie.
Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker,14 Andre Taylor, 13 George Pisi, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 David Smith, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Ben Souness, 7 Chris Walker, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Craig Clarke (c), 4 James Broadhurst, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Laurence Corlett, 1 Shane Cleaver.
Replacements: 16 Timo Tutavaha, 17 Carl Carmichael, 18 Samuela Vunisa, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Brett Goodin, 21 Isaia Tuifua, 22 Beauden Barrett.
Referee: Chris Pollock