Waikato booked themselves a place in the ITM Cup semi-finals after upsetting Canterbury 26-6 at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium on Friday.
A bonus-point win would have allowed the Mooloo Men to finish top of the table and secure them a home semi-final.
But although they kept Canterbury scoreless in the second spell - and tryless over 80 minutes - they could only manage a try either side of half-time and finished round robin play on 44 points to Canterbury's table-topping 45.
Waikato started strongly as fly-half Trent Renata - standing in for recalled All Black Stephen Donald - landed three penalties in the first 30 minutes to lead 9-0.
The hosts got their first try on the 30 minute mark, when number eight Alex Bradley powered through the Canterbury defence with strong work off the back of the ruck.
Renata's conversion gave Waikato a 16-0 lead, and only two late Colin Slade penalties before half-time gave the visitors any hope. Ahead 16-6 at half-time, Waikato had made just 29 tackles to Canterbury's 82 in the first 40 minutes.
All Blacks winger Sitiveni Sivivatu had his first taste of rugby for six months when he took the field at the restart. The 43-Test veteran was back after shoulder surgery, tackling with conviction and running strongly when the ball came his way.
Waikato extended their lead fifteen minutes into the second half, thanks to a Soseni Anesi touch down in the corner after winning a 5m scrum and moving the ball wide.
Renata continued his good form with the boot to give his team a 23-6 lead with just over 20 minutes remaining. The Waikato pivot made it six from six kicks on goal with another penalty on 70 minutes and the home team held the 26-6 lead until the final whistle.
Tries: Bradley, Anesi
Cons: Renata 2
Pens: Renata 4
Pens: Slade 2
Waikato: 15 Sosene Anesi, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Dwayne Sweeney, 10 Trent Renata, 9 Malcolm Barnes, 8 Alex Bradley, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Nathan White (c), 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Hikairo Forbes , 17 Ben May, 18 Matt Vant Leven, 19 Zak Hohneck, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow/David Bason, 21 Christian Lealiifano, 22 Sitiveni Sivivatu.
Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Tu Umaga-Marshall, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Telusa Veainu, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Ash Parker, 5 Isaac Ross, 4 Rob Verbakel, 3 Peter Borlase, 2 Steve Fualau, 1 Wyatt Crockett (c).
Replacements: 16 Paul Ngauamo, 17 Andrew Olorenshaw, 18 Tom Broughton, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Takerei Norton, 21 Stephen Brett, 22 Sam Monaghan.
Referee: Mike Fraser