Hawke's Bay secured the Ranfurly Shield for the summer thanks to a 34-18 win over Wellington at McLean Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Magpies' victory also takes them back to the top of the Mitre 10 Cup Championship table heading into the final round of the regular season next weekend and locks in a home semifinal back in Napier the week after that.
Hawke's Bay Magpies head coach Mark Ozich said the fixture was a classic example of the game of two halves cliche.
"I thought we executed really well, took our chances in that first half, scored some good tries," he said.
But the team weren't at the level the coach wanted after the break:
"Just allowed them cheap momentum and we battled really."
The positive for Ozich is he still sees growth ahead of his Magpies team with the finals coming up in a couple of weeks.
Emotions were running high, particularly in the second half with fullback Kurt Baker's yellow card indiscretion and Sona Taumalolo lucky to escape punishment for throwing a couple of punches.
Ozich said both teams were responsible for plenty of stuff off-the-ball.
"We just can't retaliate and react to stuff, we've gotta be better than that," he said.
"It's good to care, but not cross that line."
The coach was full of praise for his star halfback and man-of-the-match Folau Fakatava, who once again did plenty on attack for the Magpies.
"Defensively too, he's making a lot of good reads on defence, jackling ball and getting turnovers," Ozich said.
Hawke's Bay marched straight into the 22 from their first attack, and first five Caleb Makene opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a penalty from point-blank range.
Lions pivot Jackson Garden-Bachop replied a few minutes later with an easy shot at goal of his own to level the scores.
And Wellington took the lead in the 12th minute through another penalty to Garden-Bachop.
But Hawke's Bay got the first try of the game after Fakatava's grubber ahead bounced off a Wellington player to No 8 Devan Flanders for an easy finish.
And they extended the lead to 11 points with blindside flanker Marino Mikaele-Tu'u rumbling over off the back of a lineout drive five metres from the tryline.
There was another try in the 22nd minute to centre Stacey Ili as the Magpies began to run rampant, pouncing on every Wellington mistake.
Makene made it a three-score buffer soon after with another successful penalty kick from close range.
It was a stellar first 40 minutes for Fakatava but he made a big error after the siren by throwing the ball out of play to concede a penalty.
Lions prop Alex Fidow got to the tryline, but Fakatava made amends by getting his hand under the ball to hold it up and prevent the score.
Both teams emerged onto a very wet McLean Park for the second half after the predicted rain set in big-time during the break.
The weather cleared up again though, and Hawke's Bay took full advantage with one of the tries of the season in the 54th minute
Fullback Baker broke the line from well within his own 22, and the Magpies kept the ball alive with a series of offloads before a kick ahead from substitute Lincoln McClutchie.
Having thrown a nice inside ball in the buildup to keep play moving, Hawke's Bay second five Neria Fomai won the race to the ball to score their fourth try and secure a bonus point.
Wellington caught Hawke's Bay napping from the kickoff to finally get their first try of the match, through lock Naitoa Ah Kuoi.
And Baker turned from hero to villain by picking up a yellow card for a petulant knee in the back of Lions halfback Connor Collins off the ball, opening the door for an unlikely comeback.
They took advantage with a try to Kaliopasi Uluilakepa to reduce the deficit to 16 points with about 15 minutes remaining.
Hawke's Bay wrested back control of the game though and were able to see it out with no further score.
The Magpies' final game of the 10-week regular season is next Sunday against Taranaki in Inglewood.
Hawke's Bay 34 (Devan Flanders, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Stacey Ili, Neria Fomai tries; Caleb Makene 2/2 pen, 3/3 con, Lincoln McClutchie 1/1 con)
Wellington 18 (Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 2/2 pens, 1/2 cons)