Canterbury edged up the premiership ladder with a 32-22 win over championship team Otago in an NPC rugby cross-over match in Christchurch.

The bonus-point win moved them into second place on the ladder, trailing Wellington by five points, but with a game in hand.

The defending champions went ahead early when Adam Whitelock finished off a good team try created by winger Milford Keresoma's vision, good support play and accurate offloading in the tackle.

Otago hit back quickly, slicing through Canterbury's much-vaunted defence three minutes later as winger Fa'asiu Fuatai showed magical footwork in dribbling Peter Breen's through-kick over the line for the try.

Otago continued to keep the pressure on, attacking the breakdown in numbers, and earning two penalties which the ever-reliable Hayden Parker duly slotted for a 13-7 lead as the half-hour mark ticked over.

Canterbury's scrum was as solid as ever, but their line-out was uncharacteristically shaky and they struggled with their timing and ball-handling on attack.

Everything clicked three minutes from halftime, however, when the ball was shifted wide from an attacking lineout and rookie All Black Tom Taylor - back after three weeks off with a rib injury - dived over in the corner.

Ahead 15-13 at the break, Canterbury extended their lead 10 minutes into the second spell, Corey Flynn muscling over at the bottom of a strong forward drive.

Otago narrowed the gap with two Hayden Parker penalties, but replacement prop Paea Fa'anunu put the result beyond doubt with eight minutes remaining when he powered across from close range.