Hawke’s Bay and Northland will get Round 7 of the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup underway when they square off on Wednesday the 26th of September.
With only three rounds of the regular season left Wednesday’s game between second-placed and third-placed Championship sides Hawke’s Bay and Northland could have a massive bearing on which of the two teams claims a home semi-final berth.
Hawke’s Bay v Northland
Wednesday 26 September
To Win (80 Mins)
Hawke’s Bay 21/20
The hosts for Wednesday’s encounter head into the match off the back of two successive defeats, which has seen them drop to second on the Championship standings. They really are a side that has lost confidence as was evident during their 34-51 defeat to North Harbour last Saturday.
Hawke’s Bay haven’t really dropped their attacking standards, it’s the defensive side of their game that has been their Achilles heel. I mean this is a side that has conceded 93 points in their past two games. If they don’t plug their defensive line then I can’t see them having any chance of returning to the top of the Championship table before the close of the regular season.
Northland have enjoyed a far more positive fortnight than their hosts and head into this one off the back of two crucial victories with the first being a 49-19 home win over Manawatu and the second being a 26-10 win over Southland.
While the visitors were far from the polished article against struggling Southland last week they did show a hell of a lot of grit on defence. They will need to reproduce that effort here as Hawke’s Bay are capable of scoring tries from anywhere.
Verdict: Northland 21/20
I’m going to have a small play on the visitors here. They’re in solid touch and may be able to get one over an out of sorts Hawke’s Bay.