Canterbury edge Auckland

Canterbury claimed their seventh National Provincial Championship title in eight years when they beat Auckland 25-23 in Christchurch on Saturday.

Canterbury ruled New Zealand rugby from 2008 to 2013, before failing to reach last year's final, but they regained the trophy with a narrow win against their arch-rivals.

It was an entertaining final with four tries scored inside the first 17 minutes.

Left wing Patrick Osborne, lock Dominic Bird and outside centre Ryan Crotty crossed the line for the hosts, with hooker Greg Pleasants-Tate getting over for the visitors. Flyhalf Simon Hickey's three penalty goals meant the Aucklanders trailed just 19-16 at the break.

Auckland flank Mitch Karpik scored the only try of the second half, but it wasn't enough for his side as Canterbury fullback Tom Taylor's 67th-minute penalty goal proved to be the match-winner.

Canterbury – Tries: Patrick Osborne, Dominic Bird, Ryan Crotty. Conversions: Tom Taylor (2). Penalties: Taylor (2).
Auckland – Tries: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Mitch Karpik. Conversions: Simon Hickey (2). Penalties: Hickey (3).

Canterbury – 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Dan Lienert-Brown.
Subs: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Jack Stratton, 22 Cameron McIntyre, 23 Marshall Suckling.

Auckland – 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Vince Aso, 12 George Moala, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Mitch Karpik, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 1 Isileli Tu'ungafasi.
Subs: 16 Kurt Eklund, 17 Tom McHugh, 18 Jono Owen, 19 William Lloyd, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Jono Hickey, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Lolagi Visinia.

Photo: Patrick Osborne/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt