A 10-minute spell which started with a cynical foul by Manawatu prop Michael Ala'alatoa allowed Taranaki to pile on an unanswered 19 points and retain the Ranfurly Shield in New Plymouth on Wednesday night.

A rampant home side ran in three tries as Ala'alatoa sat in the sin-bin for a professional foul; playing the ball on the ground with his line under siege.

And that was the difference in a 46-25 win.

The win not only locks up the Shield for the summer but seals Taranaki's place at the top of the Premiership table with a game in hand as Canterbury, so long the title favourites, now unable to peg them back.

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Waisake Naholo was sublime in his return to provincial rugby from All Blacks duty and was obviously playing at a different level to those around him.

His one-handed take of a pop pass from second five-eighth Sean Wainui in the 16th minute was followed by an acrobatic dive in the corner for a try which gave the home side an 8-3 lead.

An explosive step and surge by the powerful winger on the stroke of halftime ended a sublime period of power rugby from Taranaki, who went to the break leading 27-6.

Taranaki scored two other tries in the period when they were a man up, both to centre Seta Tamanivalu, who benefitted from good work by athletic flanker Pita-Gus Sowakula and then speedy first five-eighth Stephen Perofeta.

Manawatu had the added agony of losing playmaker Otere Black just before halftime to complete a terrible 10 minutes.

The 10-minute tale was all the more obvious as Manawatu regained some parity in the second spell.

Replacement halfback James Booth, with a jink and dab off the ruck, scored early in the second half before local fans took special delight a few minutes later when Charlie Ngatai, on as a replacement for Wainui and resplendent in fluorescent yellow headgear, hit the attacking line at a perfect angle to further extend the lead to 34-11 as the hour approached.

Rangy winger Ambrose Curtis kept the Turbos' hopes alive and further narrowed the gap.

Manawatu got a glimmer of hope when Taranaki replacement winger Declan O'Donnell was sin-binned for a no-arms tackle off the ball on Jason Emery and the visitors showed their resilience with a try to replacement first five Jade Te Rure who pounced on a loose ball to narrow the deficit to nine points.

But the home side had learned the lesson of playing a man down and held tight before exploding towards the finish line with an acrobatic try to Kylem O'Donnell from a cross-field kick and a finishing burst from replacement loose forward Adrian Wyrill.

Taranaki 46 (Waisake Naholo 2 Seta Tamanivalu 2, Charlie Ngatai, Kylem O'Donnell, Adrian Wyrill tries; Marty McKenzie 1 pen 4 con)

Manawatu 25 (James Booth, Ambrose Curtis, Jade Te Rure tries; Otere Black 2 pen Jade Te Rure 3 con). HT: 27-6.