Will anybody beat Canterbury in 2016?

The seven-time champions have been perfect through four games of the Mitre 10 Cup, collecting their full allotment of points as they sweep would-be contenders aside.

Hawke's Bay became their latest victim this afternoon, with Canterbury running in eight tries in a 63-7 rout.

Being a Premiership side, Hawke's Bay were expected to put up more of a challenge, but slipped off an embarrassing 41 tackles as Canterbury ran riot.


First five Richie Mo'unga was the catalyst of their free-running game, while winger George Bridge and centre Rob Thompson found sizeable gaps in the Magpies defensive line as the defending champions again manufactured a mammoth scoreline.

It took a moment for that backline to fly into gear, with the industrious Luke Whitelock prominent early as the Canterbury forwards sniffed chances to get themselves on the scoresheet. Rolling mauls and hit-ups proved profitable, before a fatigued Hawke's Bay saw their defensive frailties exposed once more by a fresh Canterbury bench led by electric winger Nathan Earle.

Hawke's Bay were visibly drained from playing Auckland just five days earlier, and have now conceded 45 points per game in their five clashes this season.

With some of their biggest rivals trounced, it's not hyperbolic to suggest an unbeaten season could be on the cards for Canterbury. Scott Robertson's men are averaging over 50 points per game, and have an average winning margin of 36 - signifiers of a team ready to usurp Auckland's 2007 side as the last side to go unbeaten through a campaign.

Most impressively, it's not minnows that they are continually trouncing. In fact, their 52-34 win over strugglers Northland was their toughest task to date, having previously cruised past Premiership sides Tasman (45-14) and Auckland (43-3).

Add in the likely prospect of a Ranfurly Shield challenge in the upcoming weeks, and 2016 has all the makings of a season to remember for Canterbury.

Canterbury 63 (Rob Thompson 2, George Bridge, Scott Barrett, Dominic Bird, Ben Funnell, Nathan Earle, Jordie Barrett tries; Richie Mo'unga 4 con, 3 pen, Jordie Barrett 3 con)
Hawke's Bay 7 (Jonah Lowe try; Ihaia West con)
Halftime: 23-7