Sonny Bill Williams scored an outstanding individual try as he helped Canterbury to a 35-20 win over Otago in the ITM Cup at Carisbrook on Saturday.
Williams had his best game since returning to New Zealand as Canterbury moved to the top of the standings thanks to their bonus point for four tries.
Otago contested well but had little reply to the visitor's firepower as loose forwards Matt Todd and Ash Parker and lock Luke Romano had strong games while full-back Sean Maitland scored a fine try in injury time to snatch the bonus point.
Canterbury will however be sweating over a knee injury sustained by captain George Whitelock, who was forced off the field.
Otago led 6-0 after enjoying a good opening spell but the visitors moved ahead after 17 minutes when, from a turnover, the ball went through a number of hands to find hooker Steve Fualau, who scored wide out. Colin Slade's conversion gave Canterbury the lead.
Scrum-half Andy Ellis added a drop goal just after the half-hour mark to extend the lead despite the Otago forwards' aggression and enthusiasm to get stuck in.
The visitors moved further ahead just before the break when Ash Parker offloaded to Ryan Crotty for a well-worked try.
Otago made a second-half rally and dragged themselves back into the game as right wing Joe Hill beat two tackles to crash over. Glenn Dickson converted to leave the scores at 20-13.
It was 20-20 in final quarter after prop Halani Aulika crashed over for his fourth try of the season and Dickson leveled the scores from the tee.
But Williams would turn the game back to Canterbury's favour when ghosted through the Otago defence and sprinted 60m to score a fabulous try.
Maitland's late score sealed the deal.
Tries: Hill, Aulika
Cons: Dickson 2
Pens: Dickson 2
For Canterbury :
Tries: Fualau, Crotty, Williams, Maitland.
Cons: Slade 3
Pens: Slade 2
Otago: 15 Chris Small, 14 Joe Hill, 13 Josh Tatupu, 12 Glenn Dickson, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Sean Romans, 8 Charlie O'Connell, 7 Alando Soakai (c), 6 Hoani Matenga, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Townsend, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Peter Mirrielees, 1 Kees Meeuws.
Replacements: 16 Wyatt McKay, 17 Sam Hibbard, 18 Paul Grant, 19 Brad Cameron, 20 Johnny Legg, 21 Paula Kinikinilau, 22 Ryan Shortland.
Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tu Umaga-Marshall, 13 Sonny Bill Williams, 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 Andrew Olorenshaw, 2 Steve Fualau, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Paul Ngauamo, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Rob Verbakel, 19 Ash Parker, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Sam Monaghan, 22 Robbie Fruean.
Referee: Glen Jackson