Auckland will be looking to make it three wins in succession when they play host to Waikato on Thursday the 30th of August.
Auckland will be looking to continue their impressive start to the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup season when they take on winless Waikato this Thursday. The Aucklanders currently sit second in the Premiership standings while Waikato are fourth in the Championship.
Auckland v Waikato
Thursday 30 August
To Win (80 Mins)
Auckland (-8.5) 9/10
Waikato (+8.5) 9/10
*Please note that these are forecast handicaps and odds.
Auckland have enjoyed their most positive start to a Mitre 10 Cup season in quite some while and head into the third week of the competition unbeaten. Their first two fixtures have seen them beat Counties Manukau 23-19 and Northland 12-28.
Key to the Eden Park-based side’s fast start to the campaign has been the form of utility back Melani Nanai, who grabbed two tries against Northland. Another man who is playing some good rugby for the Aucklander’s is New Zealand Under 20 representative Harry Plummer who was solid off the kicking tee and also grabbed a five-pointer during last week’s victory.
This weekend’s visitors have endured a polar-opposite start to the season of that of their hosts, with Waikato losing their opening two fixtures. The Championship outfit opened their campaign with a 24-19 defeat to Manawatu and then went down 28-29 to North Harbour this past Saturday.
If Waikato are to stand a chance of winning this one they are going to have to stop conceding soft second-half tries. They had the North Harbour game seemingly wrapped up at half-time only for them to implode during the second stanza.
Verdict: Auckland (-8.5) 9/10 *Please note that this is a forecast handicap.
I can see a late surge from Auckland comfortably pushing them past what is a rather modest handicap.