Mitre 10 Cup 2018: Counties Manukua v Taranaki Preview

Rugby player passes ball

Round 3 of the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup will get underway on Wednesday the 29th of August with a clash between Counties Manukau and Taranaki.

Struggling Premiership outfit Counties Manukau will be looking to register their first win of the season when they take on a Taranaki side that bounced back from their opening round defeat with a 20 point victory over Manawatu last weekend.

Counties Manukau v Taranaki
Wednesday 29 August
Navigation Homes Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Counties 49/20
Draw 20/1
Taranaki 7/20

Counties (+7.5) 9/10
Taranaki (-7.5) 9/10

*Please note that these are forecast handicaps.

Counties Manukau
It's been a tough old start to the season for Counties who have suffered two narrow defeats, with their opening game seeing them go down 25-19 to Auckland, and their Round 2 home game against Bay of Plenty ending 17-22 in favour of the visitors.

One thing that the hosts can ill-afford this week is to pass up on guilt edge opportunities. They have left a number of points out on the field already this season, and they will need to be a lot more clinical if they are to get one over a Taranaki side that really hit their straps last week.

So after only two weeks of the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup, we've already seen the best and worst of Taranaki. The Bulls opened their campaign with a dour display against Premiership side Bay of Plenty, which saw them go down 30-10 in Rotorua. They bounced back from that insipid showing by turning in a great shift against Manawatu the following week, which saw them claim the Ranfurly shield with a 41-21 home win.

Taranaki won't be entirely happy with last week's performance, however, particularly their second-half shift that saw them concede quite a number of points while only adding a few of their own. They will need to apply themselves for the full 80 minutes here as Counties will be up for this one having lost their first two fixtures.

Verdict: Taranaki 7/20
The forecast handicap has me a bit nervous as it's in a region of uncertainty, I think Taranaki could easily clear it if they replicate last weekend's performance but Counties have lost their last two by narrow margins so they could well stay within eight points.

Call it a cop out but I'm putting my money on the straight Taranaki win. 

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Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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