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Mitre 10 Cup: Round 3 Preview

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Round 3 of the 2019 Mitre 10 Cup will get underway on Thursday the 22nd of August. Darry Worthington previews all seven Round 3 fixtures

Premiership side Tasman continued to impress in Round 2 as they racked up a solid 8-23 victory over Canterbury. The result has seen them pull a point clear of second-placed Auckland on the Premiership standings.

While Tasman have been the pacesetters in the Premiership, Bay of Plenty have been the form side in the Championship and sit top of the pops in the second tier with two impressive wins to their name.

Will these two sides continue their domination of their respective divisions in Round 3?

Hawke’s Bay v Otago
Thursday 22 August
McLean Park

09:35


To Win (80 Mins)
Hawke’s Bay 7/10
Draw 18/1

Otago 5/4

The Round 3 action gets underway in Napier with an all-Championship affair between Hawke’s Bay and Otago.

Hawke’s Bay currently sit third in the Championship having beaten 13-31 on the opening weekend and then drawing 27-27 with Wellington in Round 2.

Otago bounced back from their 50-7 opening round demolition at the hands of Bay of Plenty by beating perennial tournament whipping boys, Southland, 41-22. It was a far from convincing display from Otago who went into the game as 17 point favourites just prior to kick-off.

In terms of team news, both teams will receive massive boosts this week with Brad Webber (Hawke’s Bay) and Josh Ioane (Otago) set to turn out having been released from the All Black squad.

Verdict: Otago 5/4
The return of Josh Ioane is a massive coup for Otago who have struggled somewhat with Vilimoni Koroi at pivot. I reckon Ioane’s game management will see Otago to a much-needed away win. 

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Wellington v Canterbury
Friday 23 August
Westpac Stadium 

09:35


To Win (80 Mins)
Wellington 27/20

Draw 18/1
Canterbury 13/20

Canterbury will be looking to bounce back from consecutive losses when they take on fellow Premiership strugglers Wellington

The visitors head into this one having gone down 31-28 to Waikato in Round 1 and 8-23 to rivals Tasman in Round 2.

Wellington have enjoyed a slightly better start than their opponents as they managed to follow up their 45-8 opening-round loss to Tasman by drawing 27-27 with Hawke’s Bay.

Both teams will be boosted by the return of players from the All Black training camp with Braydon Ennor back with Canterbury and Vaea Fifitia back with the Wellington squad.

Verdict: Canterbury 13/20
The Cantabs have struggled for points thus far but the return of Ennor could well spark this backline into action. I’m expecting the visitors to have registered their first win of the campaign when all is said and done on Friday. 

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Tasman v Manawatu
Saturday 24 August
Lansdowne Park

04:35

To Win (80 Mins)

Tasman 1/50
Draw 30/1
Manawatu 19/2

The tournament’s form side, Tasman, will be looking to claim their second bonus-point win of the season when they take on Championship side Manawatu.

Tasman have enjoyed a rollicking start to the campaign beating Wellington 45-8 in Round 1 before running out 8-23 victors over Canterbury in Round 2.

Conversely, Manawatu have opened their season with two losses going down 13-31 to Hawke’s Bay in Round 1 and then 10-13 to Taranaki in Round 2.

Verdict: Tasman 1/50
I think things are going to get very messy for Manawatu this Saturday. Tasman are in great form and should have problems winning this one by more than 20 points. 
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Auckland v Bay of Plenty
Saturday 24 August
Eden Park
07:05


To Win (80 Mins)

Auckland 2/9
Draw 25/1

Bay of Plenty 7/2

Reigning Premiership champions Auckland face a stern test this weekend with Championship pacesetters Bay of Plenty coming to town.

The visitors have been in great touch this season register wins over Otago (50-7) and Waikato (40-14). They’re playing a great brand of rugby at the minute and aren’t afraid to have a go from well inside their own half.

Auckland have endured a slightly slower start drawing their opening game with North Harbour before defeating Northland 10-43.

The hosts have received a massive boost heading into this one with All Black wing Rieko Ioane having returned to the squad in a bid to find some form.

Verdict: Auckland 2/9
This should be a very entertaining game with both teams capable of running in some marvellous five-pointers. I think the return of Ioane may just tilt the scales in Auckland’s favour. 

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Counties Manakau v Waikato
Saturday 24 August
Navigation Holmes Park
09:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Counties 19/20
Draw 18/1
Waikato 9/10

Saturday’s action will come to a close with an all-Premiership affair that will see Counties and Waikato lock horns.

Both teams have identical win/loss ratios thus far with Counties going down 29-34 to Taranaki in their opener before bouncing back and beating North Harbour 25-39, while Waikato beat Canterbury 31-28 in Round 1 before going down 40-14 to Bay of Plenty last Sunday.

Waikato will be strengthened by the return of flanker Luke Jacobson who has been released from the All Blacks squad.

Verdict: Waikato 9/10
Both these sides have blown hot and cold thus far and this really is a tough game to make a pick on. As such, I will be having a very small strike on the away win.
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Taranaki v Northland
Sunday 25 August
Yarrow Stadium
04:05

To Win (80 Mins)
Taranaki 1/8
Draw 30/1
Northland 5/1

The fixture in Sunday’s double-header will see Championship foes Taranaki and Northland square off at the Yarrow Stadium.

Favourites Taranaki have enjoyed a solid start to their campaign beating Coutines by five points in their opener and then following that up with a 10-13 victory over Manawatu.

Northland have enjoyed a less fruitful start to their campaign and were unable to build on their 10-point opening-round victory over Southland as they went down by 33 points to Auckland last weekend.

Verdict: Taranaki 1/8
While Taranaki aren’t as good a side as their early-season results indicate, they should have enough about them to see off Northland by between 7 and 14 points.

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Southland v North Harbour
Sunday 25 August

Rugby Park
06:35

To Win (80 Mins)
Southland 13/2
Draw 30/1

North Harbour 1/16

Championship whipping boys Southland will be looking to pull off a major upset when they take on a wounded North Harbour outfit in Round 3’s final fixture.

The hosts head into this one off two consecutive defeats having gone down 17-27 to Northland in the opening round and 41-22 to Otago in Round 2.

North Harbour have fared a bit better than their counterparts drawing with Auckland in their opener before going down by 14 points to Counties.

Verdict: Southland (+)
I think we may be in for a shock here. Southland have been dogged this term while North Harbour have been far from impressive. The sensible play here is to back the hosts on the plus. 

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Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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