Northland face the daunting prospect of facing Mitre 10 Cup Championship leaders Waikato after the Cambridge Blue lost its last round robin match against Bay of Plenty this afternoon.
The Steamers ran in six tries to overpower the Taniwha 38-35 in Tauranga but they have just been squeezed out of the semi final.
Having finished last on the ladder, Northland will travel to Hamilton next weekend to face the Mooloos in what will be a re-match of round eight when Waikato won 28-71.
In Tauranga today, Bay of Plenty scored four tries in a dominant first half, when they led 26-7 under bathing sun at Tauranga Domain.
Prop James Lay opened the account, driving over after several phases. His fellow front-rower Jeff Thwaites followed soon afterwards, in a movement that started with flanker Mitch Karpik.
Centre Liam Steel was next on the scoresheet, scoring under the posts after a 17-phase movement.
A depleted Taniwha scored through flanker Aorangi Stokes. It was a glimmer of hope for the visitors.
When Ropate Rinakama crossed the tryline, the Taniwha trailed 26-14. But the Steamers were able to keep their noses in front with an opportunist effort to fullback Chase Tiatia.
Scott Gregory's bust and offload set up Tamati Tua and then on the stroke of fulltime, Gregory again cut open the Steamers' defence to put wing Jordan Hyland in the corner.
Bay of Plenty 38 (James Lay, Jeff Thwaites, Liam Steel, Emoni Narawa, Fa'asiu Fuatai, Chase Tiatia tries; Kaleb Trask 4 con)
Northland 35 (Aorangi Stokes, Ropate Rinakama, Noah Cooper, Tamati Tua, Jordan Hyland tries; Jack Debreczeni 3 con, Wiseguy Faiane 2 con)
HT: 26-7 BOP