♪ The dog days are over
The dog days are done
Can't you hear the horses
'Cause here they come ♪
- Florence + The Machine, clearly singing about Auckland rugby
For the first time in a decade, there's a new power at the top of the Mitre 10 Cup.
Perhaps Auckland would quibble being classed as "new" – they have won 16 titles, after all – but after 11 years without success, they are looming as the team to beat following a 34-29 victory over Canterbury.
Maybe they would play down that assertion too, but when you beat Tasman and Canterbury in back-to-back weeks – both convincingly – and claim your first win in Canterbury since 2007, it's hard to deny Auckland's potency.
With five wins from five, Auckland are the competition's only unbeaten team, and considering they survived relegation by one measly point last season, it has been a rapid return to the top under new coach Alama Ieremia.
Breaking their title drought might be too much to ask, but then again, today was meant to be their downfall.
Canterbury had won 12 of their last 13 games against their old rivals, and had lost just one of their last 19 games at home. So, for Auckland to come into Christchurch and take down the victors of nine of the last 10 titles, well, consider the competition on notice.
They had a bit of luck - their first try came after clearly putting a foot in touch – but there were no problems with the rest of their performance. TJ Faiane shone with a hat-trick, including finishing off a superb 100 metre counter attack started by a cross-kick, and Auckland looked dangerous attacking from all areas.
Canterbury had their chances, and a reasonable chunk of possession, but their usual stout defence was lacking.
28 tackles were missed as Auckland were given far too much room to run, and untimely mistakes led to backbreaking runaway tries as Auckland pulled away to a victory which only looks competitive due to two Canterbury consolation tries in the final two minutes.
Canterbury's reign isn't over, but the dog days are done for Auckland.
• It was a good afternoon for northern sides, with North Harbour jumping off the bottom of the Premiership ladder thanks to a 32-20 victory over Bay of Plenty. They move into fifth, but are five points behind Tasman, who have a game in hand. Bay of Plenty also sit fifth in the Championship, but their semifinal chances look rosier, with their final five games all against Championship opposition.
Auckland 34 (TJ Faiane 3, Jonathan Ruru, Tumua Manu tries; Harry Plummer 3 cons, pen)
Canterbury 29 (Greg Pleasents-Tate, Sef Fa'agase, Chris King, Brodie McAlister tries; Brett Cameron 3 cons, pen)
North Harbour 32 (James Parsons, Bryn Hall, Tevita Li, Bryn Gatland tries; Gatland 3 cons, 2 pens)
Bay of Plenty 20 (Mike Delany, James Lay tries; Delany con, 2 pens, Jason Robertson con)