Mitre 10 Cup: Canterbury v Taranaki Preview

Player stands over rugby ball

The headline clash of the penultimate round of Mitre 10 Cup fixtures sees Canterbury play host to  Taranaki on Friday the 6th of October.

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Premiership log-leaders Canterbury plays host to second-placed Taranaki in Friday's solitary Mitre 10 Cup clash. The hosts currently sit four points clear of the visitors on the Premiership standings but have played a game more than their opponents. As such, this game could have a huge bearing on who gets the hosting rights to a home final.

This clash also happens to be a Ranfurly Shield fixture, so there's a bit of added spice to what was already a hot dish.

Canterbury v Taranaki | Friday 6 October | AMI Stadium | 08:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Canterbury 1/7 | Draw 30/1 | Taranaki 47/10
Canterbury (-14.5) 9/10 | Taranaki (+14.5) 9/10 *Please note that this is a forecasted handicap

There aren't enough superlatives in the English language to describe the campaign Canterbury are having. The men in 'Black and Red' have won eight of their nine fixtures thus far with their only defeat coming at the hands of Wellington a fortnight ago. While most teams would have seen their game drop off somewhat after such a humbling, Canterbury got straight back on the horse and beat a fired up Waikato side by 20 points, with the result seeing them return to the summit of the Premiership log.

While every single member of this Canterbury squad deserves praise, there is one individual who has stood out. His name? Richard Mo'unga. The pivot has enjoyed a spectacular 2017, playing a major role in the Crusaders claiming the 2017 Super Rugby title and then transitioning to Canterbury's Mitre 10 focal point with astounding ease. It's unfortunate for young Richie that there are so many quality pivots in New Zealand as he would walk his way into most national sides.

Little Richie and his merry men come into this one as heavy favourites with the books and are priced up at 1/7 despite having a win/loss ratio identical to that of their opponents. And while I'd generally argue the case of the 'books ricing up the hosts a bit short here, I can't this time around as the Cantabrians are just so strong at home.

Like this weekend's opponents, Taranaki are enjoying a remarkable season which has seen them only lose one fixture thus far. Ironically enough, the aforementioned defeat came at the hands of Wellington - the only side to beat Canterbury as well.

Key to Taranaki's success this term has been their lethal backline which has played a big role in them scoring 256 points in seven games and racking up seven try-scoring bonus points. They have been decent on defence also conceding 186 points in seven fixtures. They do fall short of Canterbury's offensive and defensive stats by some distance, however, with Canterbury conceding 22 points fewer and scoring a staggering 114 points more than Taranaki.

Verdict: Taranaki (+14.5) 9/10 *Please note that this is a forecasted handicap
This is likely to be a rather open affair with both sides not shy to give the ball a bit of width, so the Live In-Play Over Points hunt is one to look into this week. I also suspect we'll be offered an ante-post handicap in the region of 14.5 / 15.5, which means I'm all over the Taranaki plus along with the Over Points Live In-Play markets.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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