Canterbury kept the pressure on Wellington at the top of the table after claiming a hard-fought 28-13 win over Tasman in Blenheim.
Despite outscoring their hosts by three tries to one Canterbury battled for ascendancy and the sides were level at 8-8 at half-time. This after Tasman raced into an 8-0 lead, thanks to an early Andrew Symonds penalty and a James Lowe try in the 17th minute.
The visitors struck back with a penalty from Tyler Bleyendaal in the 22nd minute and Adam Whitelock scored their first try 10 minutes later after a flowing move involving several players, from deep inside their half, in the build-up.
A fine run from Joe Moody set up Ryan Crotty for Canterbury's second try in the 47th minute. Bleyendaal converted and added a penalty in the 61st minute to give his side a 18-8 lead.
Tasman struck back shortly afterwards when replacement scrum-half Kaide Whiting threw a dummy from close quarters before scoring.
Bleyendaal punished a Tasman infringement at a ruck with another penalty in the 67th minute and converted Whitelock's second try five minutes before the end to secure the victory for the champions.
Tries: Whiting, Love
Tries: A Whitelock 2, Crotty
Con: Bleyendaal 2
Pen: Bleyendaal 3
Tasman: 15 Tom Marshall. 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Andrew Symons, 11 James Lowe, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Mark Swanepoel, 8 Tevita Koloamatangi, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Francis Smith, 17 Sila Puafisi, 18 Tevita Cavubati, 19 George Stowers, 20 Kaide Whiting, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Mitchell Scott.
Canterbury: 15 Jamie Verran. 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Milford Keresoma, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Luke Katene, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Marcel Cummings-Toone, 17 Paea Fa'anini, 18 Joel Everson, 19 Jed Brown, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Richie Mo'unga, 22 Rob Thompson.