Mitre 10 Cup Semi Finals: Bay of Plenty v Otago Preview

Player stands over rugby ball

Bay of Plenty and Otago will square off in the second Mitre 10 Cup Championship semi-final in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Bay of Plenty and Otago will go head-to-head to decide the final participant in next weekend's Championship Final. A win here would see promotion hopes remain alive while a loss would ensure another season in the second tier. With so much on the line and not much separating the sides in terms of quality, this game should be an absolute cracker.

Bay of Plenty v Otago | Saturday 21 October | Tauranga Domain | 03:35

To Win Match (80 Mins)
Bay of Plenty 19/20 | Draw 22/1 | Otago 17/20

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Bay of Plenty
The Steamers were one of the sides involved in a mass scrap for a Championship semi-final berth last weekend. They faced a tricky test as they needed to secure a win against a Waikato side that was playing for their survival in the Premiership. The game proved to be a topsy-turvy affair with the lead changing hands on a couple of occasions but the Steamers managed to secure a 36-22 win when all was said and done.

It hasn't been the best of seasons for the Steamers in terms of results as only managed to win four of their five fixtures. Their attacking prowess essentially was actually the key to them securing a home semi as they claimed five try-scoring bonus points during the round robin phase.

While the hosts have been solid with ball-in-hand the same cannot be said of their defence as they leaked 251 points in their ten fixtures at an average of just under 25 points per game. They will need to be a lot more defensively sound against an Otago side who averaged 33 points per game during the round robin phase.

The visitors were also involved in last week semi-final shootout but were gifted a very kind fixture as they hosted Championship cellar-dwellers Southland. This game was always going to be a bit of cakewalk for Otago, and so it proved as they ran out 43-19 victors at Forsyth Bar.

This weekend will be a lot tougher for Otago who went down 28-36 to the Steamers during the round robin phase. That result actually came a fortnight ago and may well still be fresh in the memories of the Otago contigent. Having said that, knock-out rugby tends to bring the best out of players and the loss may act as more of a motivator than a hindrance.

Verdict: Bay of Plenty 19/20
They have home ground advantage and they are the form side of the two. As much as I'd love to see a Wellington versus Otago Championship Final, as simply cannot see Otago winning this semi. Get on the hosts at a very kind 19/20!

Written by Darry Worthington for

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