Two tries midway through the second half helped Auckland to a 21-18 win over Manawatu and avoided a major upset.
Manawatu have not beaten Auckland since 1981, but after heading into the break with a 15-9 lead, it appeared that a shock could be in the offering.
However, second half tries from Patrick Tuipulotu and Sean Polwart rescued the situation for the men from Auckland.
Auckland were their own worst enemies in the first half, with full-back Lolagi Visinia gifting the home side two tries. First scrum-half Nick Stirzaker scored from a scrum inside the Auckland 22 after Visinia had coughed up a high ball and then Tomasi Cama was on hand to dive onto a loose ball after the full-back had lost it in the process of ripping it off a Manawatu player.
Jade Te Rure converted both tries while the visitors only had two penalties from Simon Hickey to their name at the break.
However, Tuipulotu notched up Auckland's first try in the 51st minute after good work from winger George Moala.
Just three minutes later skipper Hadleigh Parkes was the man doing the damage as he broke into the Manawatu 22, the ball was recycled and Polwart was on hand to put Auckland into the lead for the first time.
It was an advantage they retained for the remainder of the encounter, much to the relief of Wayne Pivac and his team.
Tries: Stirzaker, Cama
Conversions: Te Rure
Penalties: Te Rure 2
Tries: Tuipulotu, Polwart
Penalties: Hickey 3