Canterbury successfully defended the Ranfurly Shield for the first time in 2011 with a 52-8 win over North Otago in Christchurch on Saturday.
However, even more important is the news that All Black hopeful Colin Slade safely negotiated a solid 40 minutes of game-time.
Canterbury scored eight tries to North Otago's one at Rugby Park, but didn't have it all their own way and didn't open the scoring until the 23rd minute - when Johnny McNicholl scored the first of his two tries.
Despite being out for much of the Super Rugby season, after fracturing his jaw twice playing for the Highlanders, Slade was picked for this week's All Blacks training camp - indicating he was still in the frame for World Cup selection as back-up flyhalf to Dan Carter.
Slade showed good control in his all-round game in the pivot's position and did not shirk defensive duties.
Canterbury's next defence is against previous holders Southland at Rugby Park, Christchurch, on July 23.
Tries: McNicholl 2, Parker, O'Connor, Heinz, Hifo, Osborne, Taylor
Cons: Taylor 6
For North Otago:
Canterbury: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Robbie Flynn, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Ash Parker (captain), 5 Joel Everson, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Paea Fa'anunu, 2 Paul Ngauamo, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Sam Cottam, 18 Mark Abbott, 19 Bernie Hall, 20 Mark Swanepoel, 21 Kolio Hifo, 22 Willie McGoon, 23 Nepo Laulala.
North Otago: 15 Billy Guyton, 14 Christoph Bart, 13 Faaitu Tuamoheloa, 12 Lemi Masoe, 11 Kariatiana Vette-Welsh, 10 Ben Patston, 9 Kilifi Fangupo, 8 Josh Collier, 7 Carn Parata, 6 Manu Taiti, 5 Eric Duff, 4 Dylan Winter, 3 Rob Mafaleo, 2 Sam Sturgess, 1 Ralph Darling.
Replacements - from: Harry Fry, Palenapa Mafi, Palavi Tahaape, Cameron Rowland, Grant Isbister, Jamie Rhodes, Hamish McKenzie, Kasanova Soane, Nathan Oakes, Chris Talanoa.
Referee: Mike Fraser
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