Since 2006, matches between Bay of Plenty and Taranaki have gone one way.

On Saturday night, Bay of Plenty changed the script.

The Steamers absolutely dominated a poor Taranaki side for the full 80 minutes to post a 30-10 win in their first Mitre 10 Cup match of the season.

Taranaki had no answer for the Steamers bludgeoning forward pack, who did the bulk of the damage - contributing all three of the side's tries.


Hooker Liam Polwart was the first to open his account for the year, scoring the opening try of the match before Taranaki winger Seta Tamanivalu hit back for Taranaki.

Bay of Plenty lock Kane Leaupepe bagged a five-pointer of his own 12 minutes out from half time, lifting the Steamers to a 14-10 lead at the break.

The second half was one-way traffic. Lock Aaron Carroll scored the only try of the second half, with three late penalties from the boot of Mike Delany pushing the margin out considerably.

Earlier in the day, Auckland got the better of a physical encounter against Counties Manukau to open their account for the Mitre 10 Cup season.

Melani Nanai of Auckland makes a break against Counties. Photo / Getty
Melani Nanai of Auckland makes a break against Counties. Photo / Getty

A slow start didn't hamper the hosts at Eden Park on Saturday as they overcame an early deficit to claim a 23-19 win.

First five-eighth Harry Plummer's boot proved to be the difference, with both sides running in three tries each.

The match was only two minutes deep when the scoreboard was first put to work. Counties Manukau struck first through tighthead prop Kalolo Tuiloma, who capitalised on getting the ball just metres from the line.

Auckland hit back through winger Salesi Rayasi just eight minutes later, but his unconverted try was cancelled out when Counties Manukau No.8 Sam Henwood bagged another for his side.

Down 14-5 after 18 minutes, captain Blake Gibson put Auckland on his shoulders as he barged over the line from close range. And when Melani Nanai went over from a stunning solo effort, Auckland found themselves up 20-14 at the break.

Counties Manukau scored the only try of the second half – through loosehead prop Howard Sililoto – as the defences clamped down. Sililoto's try went unconverted, and after Plummer slotted a penalty in the 58th minute, Auckland snuffed out the Counties Manukau attack to close out the win.

Manawatu also started their campaign off on the right foot, avoiding an early slip up against Waikato.

At home, the Turbos found themselves behind 12-0 early on. The Manawatu side weren't able to get on the board until the 37th minute when fullback Junior Laloifi carved his way through the defence. They scored twice early in the second half, before closing out a 24-19 win with a 74th minute try to Laloifi putting the nail in the coffin.