A thumping victory by Tasman over Wellington and a draw between defending champions Auckland and North Harbour got Mitre 10 Cup rugby off to an intriguing start at the weekend.
Adding to the efforts for a first-up loss by perennial winners Canterbury at the hands of Waikato.
While that is not unusual for the red and blacks it was the manner in which Waikato hung in and claimed the victory with a second-half comeback that told a story in itself.
Tasman and Waikato have started with bonus-point wins and the Auckland draw has put it under pressure not to concede games if it wants to stay in touch with the leaders.
Bay of Plenty, Hawke's Bay and Taranaki have set the early pace sharing bonus-point wins.
Southland 17 Northland 27
Auckland 28 North Harbour 28
Tasman 45 Wellington 8
Counties Manukau 29 Taranaki 34
Waikato 31 Canterbury 28
Bay of Plenty 50 Otago 7
Manawatu 13 Hawke's Bay 31
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