Mitre 10 Cup Power Rankings: Taranaki surge towards the top with third straight win

OPINION: Taranaki have made their move in this year's Mitre 10 Cup season, thrashing Northland 52-19 to rise to second in the Newshub power rankings. 

Their backline threw the ball around well and they played with lots of attacking flair.

The competition is now set up well for a mouthwatering match between Taranaki and Tasman - both unbeaten - on Sunday. 

Here's how we rank the teams after round three. 

1. Tasman (P)

Last week: Second (+1)

This week: Beat Manawatu 64-3

Without a doubt the best team in the comp. Not only do they possess a relentless attack, but perhaps their biggest strength is their physical defence, conceding just 19 points in the first three weeks.

Massive game from Liam Squire and a hat-trick of tries from Jamie Spowart.

2. Taranaki (C)

Last week: Sixth (+4)

This week: Beat Northland 52-19

Blew the Taniwha off the park, playing quality rugby and throwing the ball around to claim their third straight win.

First-five Daniel Waite showed his quality throughout the 80 minutes. Top-of-the-tables clash looms against the Mako next week. 

mitre 10 cup rankings
Photo credit: Newshub.

3. Auckland (P)

Last week: Third (-)

This week: Beat Bay of Plenty 19-13

Their win over Bay of Plenty will feel like they got out of jail - the Steamers dominated the second half, but their errors cost them.

Tough defence from Auckland and a cracking game from fullback Salesi Rayasi got them through. 

4. Bay of Plenty (C)

Last week: First (-3)

This week: Lost to Auckland 19-13

Another good performance, but lacked the final pass and probably felt they should've won this.

Good signs moving forward - they take on North Harbour next week. 

5. Waikato (P)

Last week: Fourth (-)

This week: Beat Counties Manukau 31-26

A massive 60 minutes from the Mooloos, holding on to claim their second win, despite conceding 19 points in the last 18 minutes.

All Blacks contender Luke Jacobson was massive and they struggled defensively when he went off. 

6. Hawke's Bay (C)

Last week: Seventh (+2)

This week: Beat Otago 29-21

They just keep grinding out games, with a gritty win against a stubborn Otago side. Brad Weber made a huge impact on his return game.

The Magpies are still unbeaten this year, and with Southland and Northland to come, you have to think things are looking good for 'The Bay'. 

7. Wellington (P)

Last week: Ninth (+2)

This week: Beat Canterbury 23-22

Poured salt into Canterbury's wounds with a thrilling one-point win to keep the red-and-blacks winless through their first three games.

First-five Jackson Garden-Bachop starred for the Lions in the capital. 

8. North Harbour (P)

Last week: 12th (+4)

This week: Beat Southland 33-12

Were too good for Southland this week and claimed their first win of the season, after a draw and a loss.

They jump four spots and host Bay of Plenty next week. 

9. Counties Manukau (P)

Last week: Fifth (-4)

This week: Lost to Waikato 31-26

Were well out of the game for 60 minutes, before mounting a comeback, scoring three tries in the final quarter of the game.

Fell five points short in the end, and move to one win and two losses for the season. 

10. Canterbury (P)

Last week: Eight (-2)

This week: Lost to Wellington 23-22 

The nine-time champions are in a lot of trouble after three weeks, sitting six points outside the top four and bottom of the premiership division.

With a trip to Eden Park in a fortnight, they need to find their mojo against Southland at home on Saturday. 

11. Otago (C)

Last week: 10th (-1)

This week: Lost to Hawke's Bay 29-21

Outplayed by a good Magpies side, led by Brad Weber.

Josh Ioane was back for the southern men, but couldn't inspire them to victory. 

12. Manawatu (C)

Last week: 11th (-1)

This week: Lost to Tasman 64-3

A tough watch for Turbos fans at the weekend, blown off the field by a clinical Mako side on a mission this season.

That's three losses from three games for Manawatu, but they need to pick themselves up for a Ranfurly Shield challenge against Otago on Friday. 

13. Northland (C)

Last week: 13th (-)

This week: Lost to Taranaki 52-19

A tough couple of weeks since beating Southland in their opener, but the Taniwha were outclassed by a very good Taranaki side and take on unbeaten Hawke's Bay next week. 

14. Southland (C)

Last week: 14th (-)

This week: Lost to North Harbour 33-12

Another loss for the Stags, who lost the battle at scrum-time and looked a step behind throughout.

Maybe they can beat Canterbury next week for their first win in nearly three years... 

Newshub.

Luke Robinson is a Newshub online sports producer.

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz