Canterbury edged out northern rivals Auckland 27-22 in New Zealand’s premier domestic showdown.
All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter returned to the Canterbury line-up after a three week break and made an immediate impact, kicking three conversions and a crucial late penalty to seal the win.
Canterbury lead 24-6 at halftime but would have lost the match had referee Steve Walsh not ruled a forward pass in the last movement of the game. Auckland would have scored if the pass had not been called.
Canterbury deserved the victory, scoring three tries to one, but they failed to get the bonus point try that would have ensured a home quarter-final in the revamped Air New Zealand Cup.
Tries – Scott Hamilton, Craig Clarke and Wyatt Crockett tries
Convs – Dan Carter 3
Pens – Carter 2
Try – Sam Tuitupou
Conv – Ben Atiga
Pens – Brent Ward 2 and Atiga 3