Play smart, and play the whistle.

McCarthy's Transport Ruapehu continued their unbeaten streak and Grand Hotel Challenge Shield reign by pushing back a fuming Byford's Readimix Taihape 24-15 in a feisty country rugby clash at Memorial Park on Saturday.

There is still not much separating what were the leading two teams of the new Tasman Tanning Division 1 competition, but unfortunately for the home side, the mountain men had welded over the chink in their armour from fading late in games, while their talented fullback Mitchell Millar has regained his kicking form.

Landing five from seven attempts, Millar coolly slotted