Counties Manukau broke the trend this season by successfully defending the Ranfurly Shield with a 44-7 victory over Taranaki at Growers Stadium in Pukekohe on Sunday.
In their first ever Ranfurly Shield defence, a large crowd of over 12,000 turned out to witness the Steelers dominate and notch up a bonus point win, outscoring their visitors six tries to one.
The victory sees the Steelers move up to fourth in the ITM Cup Premiership standings as they now prepare for another Ranfurly challenge at home against neighbours Waikato next Saturday.
"We knew Taranaki were a side capable of coming back at us; we really wanted to string it out and finish them off as much as possible," said Steelers coach Tana Umaga.
"But to be honest, our major focus was to win back at home ... we've taken some hidings here.
"We wanted to get some respect back from our home crowd that came out to support us."
For Counties Manukau:
Tries: Elliot, Halai 2, Hancy, Lee-Lo, Tupou
Cons: Kerr 3, Tuala
Pens: Kerr 2
Counties Manukau: 15 Sherwin Stowers, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Maama Vaipulu, 6 Adam Cathcart, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Ronald Raaymakers, 3 Jarrod Firth, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Simon Lemalu.
Replacements: 16 Suli Taufalele, 17 Sam Aiono, 18 Sikeli Nabou, 19 Sean Reidy, 20 Kane Hancy, 21 Ahsee Tuala, 22 Sam Vaka.
Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Jackson Ormond, 13 Andre Taylor, 12 Opetera Peleseuma, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Daniel Brooks, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Doug Tietjens, 6 Mitchell Crosswell, 5 Kane Barrett, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Ryan Cocker, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Carl Carmichael,
Replacements: 16 Timo Tutavaha, 17 Sione Lea, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Nemia Soqeta, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Beaudein Waaka, 22 Frazier Climo.