Canterbury ran out convincing 35-16 winners over Auckland in Saturday's much anticipated ITM Cup clash in Christchurch.
Auckland felt the backlash of Canterbury's shock loss to Tasman last week as the Red and Blacks put in a scintillating performance to demolish their visitors.
While Canterbury produced by far their best performance of the season, it was a night Auckland would rather forget as they contributed to their own demise, failing to win their own line-outs or regather the ball from the restart and turning over the ball countless times to play into their opponents' hands.
Canterbury made an electrifying start to the match, claiming the ball from their own kick-off and almost scoring immediately, Isaac Ross butchering a certain five pointer after not offloading the ball to an unmarked winger.
Colin Slade landed a penalty after five minutes to give the home side an early lead before a crucial mistake at the back by young winger Charles Piutau resulted in a try to Canterbury.
Seeing there was space at the back, Slade kicked the ball deep and as Piutau raced back to regather the ball, the bounce eluded him. Instead it was Corey Flynn who pounced on the ball and set up the ruck as young lock Luke Romano dived over from close range to extend the lead.
Auckland seemed stunned by the pace Canterbury were playing at and it wasn't long before the Red and Blacks were in again, this time winger Telusa Veainu sprinting out of the line to intercept a Benson Stanley pass and racing half the length of the field to give Canterbury a 15-0 lead after just 10 minutes.
Matt Berquist managed to get Auckland on the scoreboard with two well executed penalty kicks as the visitors started to get into their work, Toby Morland and Brent Ward in particular trying everything they could to spark their side into action.
But two Colin Slade penalties either side of half-time deflated any semblance of a fightback by Auckland as Canterbury continued their dominance in the second half.
Centre Robbie Fruean, who looked threatening all evening, regathered a beautiful grubber kick through from Slade to touch down and increase the score to 28-9, before Sean Maitland regathered his own kick and scored as Canterbury built an unassailable 35-9 lead.
Flanker Onosa'i Auva'a managed to score from a quick tap five metres out with just six minutes remaining, but it was too little too late for Auckland who will need to quickly regroup ahead of their clash with Taranaki at Eden Park on Sunday.
Tries: Romano, Veainu, Fruean, Maitland
Cons: Slade 3
Pens: Slade 3
For Auckland:br>Try: Auva'a
Pens: Berquist 3
Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tu Umaga-Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Telusa Veainu, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis; 8 Nasi Manu, 7 George Whitelock (c), 6 Matt Todd, 5 Isaac Ross, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Peter Borlase, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Steve Fualau, 17 Andrew Olorenshaw, 18 Rob Verbakel, 19 Ash Parker, 20 Takarei Norton, 21 Stephen Brett, 22 Sam Monaghan.
Auckland: 15 Brent Ward, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 Benson Stanley, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Dave Thomas, 10 Matt Berquist, 9 Toby Morland; 8 Peter Saili, 7 Daniel Braid (c), 6 Onosa'i Auva'a, 5 Andrew van der Heijden, 4 Kurtis Haiu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 John Afoa.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Liaki Moli, 19 Chris Lowrey, 20 Brenton Helleur, 21 Ash Moeke, 22 Ben Atiga.
Refereee: Garratt Williamson