Mitre 10 Cup

Canterbury dish out record Auckland hammering, winning start for Wellington

Johnny McNicholl scored a try in each half and Richie Mo'unga claimed a 17-point haul as Canterbury started the defence of their Mitre 10 Cup title with a record 43-3 thrashing of Auckland in a repeat of last year's final.

Canterbury edged out Auckland 25-23 to regain their crown last October and made a huge statement on Saturday by beginning the campaign with a six-try mauling of Nick White's side at AMI Stadium on Saturday.

Scott Robertson could not have wished for a better start to his final season in charge of Canterbury, as his side recorded the club's biggest ever victory against last year's runners-up.

Canterbury, who have brought in several new faces, blew the visitors away to lead 29-3 at half-time courtesy of tries from Mo'unga, Ben Funnell, McNicholl and Reed Prinsep.

Fly-half Mo'unga converted three scores and added a penalty in the first half and added the extras again after McNicholl touched down for a second time and Nathan Vella scored a debut try as Auckland were put to the sword.

Jackson Garden-Bachop inspired Wellington to a 36-26 triumph at newly-promoted Hawke's Bay in Napier.

Hawke's Bay led 12-7 at half-time following tries from Billy Ropiha and Faaelimiga Selesele, but Garden-Bachop started to dictate proceedings after the break.

Garden-Bachop went over for Wellington's second try of the match early after the resumption before Galu Taufale, Joe Hill and Greg Foe touched down in an encouraging start to the campaign.

Last year’s Premiership semi-finalists Taranaki withstood a second-half fightback from Bay of Plenty to win 30-22.