A first-half barrage has seen Manawatu stun Canterbury 32-29 in the Mitre 10 Cup tonight in Christchurch.
A week after needing a 20-point second-half turnaround to deny Southland what would have been their first win in three years, Manawatu this time shot out to a dominant halftime lead, scoring three first-half tries to lead 25-5 at the break.
Unwanted All Black Ngani Laumape was in on the action, crossing after a hilarious bounce saw the ball jump back over the head of a sloppy Josh McKay, while Andre Taylor scored an 80 metre runaway try and kicked a booming penalty from his own half to ensure Manawatu took a sizeable halftime advantage.
Considering how they had struggled against Southland - a team who Canterbury had walloped 80-0 just weeks earlier, it was a big surprise, and although the hosts scored two quick tries after halftime, Brayden Iose crossed to keep Manawatu's lead at a healthy margin.
That try proved to be crucial, as McKay scored in the 69th minute, before Brett Cameron crossed in the 78th, to reduce the deficit to just three points.
However, there were to be no last-gasp heroics, as Manawatu hung on for their third win of the season, moving them into fourth on the Championship ladder.
Canterbury claimed two bonus points despite the embarrassing defeat to temporarily slot into third in the Premiership, though they could fall as far as fifth by the end of the weekend.
Canterbury v Manawatu as it happened: