Taranaki got their campaign back on track with a convincing 46-17 victory over Waikato in Hamilton on Wednesday.
The Amber and Blacks drew with Counties Manukau and lost to Hawke's Bay in their two previous matches but delivered a superb performance with fly-half Marty McKenzie leading the way with 24-point haul via two tries, four conversions and two penalties.
After McKenzie and Waikato counterpart Wharenui Hawera traded early penalties, Taranaki took control of the match midway through the first half and raced into a 27-3 lead at the break via three converted tries from McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, and another three-pointer from the pivot.
The Mooloo Men launched a mini fightback, shortly after the restart, via tries from Declan O'Donnell and Joe Webber, which Hawera converted, but that was to be their final contribution to the scoreboard.
Taranaki sealed the win in style with further tries from Jackson Ormond, Seta Tamanivalu and Naholo's second.
The victory moves them into third spot on the table; a point ahead of Counties Manukau although Taranaki have played an extra game.
Try: O'Donnell, Webber
Cons: Hawera 2
Tries: McKenzie 2, Naholo 2, Ormond, Tamanivalu
Cons: McKenzie 4, Rei
Pens: McKenzie 2
Waikato: 15 Albert Nikoro, 14 Declan O'Donnell, 13 Jordan Payne, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Joe Webber, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Adam Burn, 7 Marty Holah (c), 6 Josh Tyrell, 5 Jacob Skeen, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 James McGougan.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 David Morgan, 19 Zane Kapeli, 20 Brad Weber, 21 Damian McKenzie, 22 Regan Ware.
Taranaki: 15 James Marshall (c), 14 Jackson Ormond, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Berny Hall, 6 Mitchell Crosswell, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Leighton Price, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Replacements: 16 Timo Tutavaha, 17 Ryan Cocker, 18 Riki Hoeata, 19 Toa Halafihi, 20 Chris Smylie, 21 Sean Wainui, 22 Codey Rei.
Referee: Damian Mitchelmore