Championship rivals Waikato and Hawke’s Bay will go head-to-head on Thursday the 13th of September.
Waikato will be looking to spring a surprise and leapfrog Championship pacesetters, Hawk’s Bay, into pole position on the standings when the two sides square off this Thursday. The hosts head into this one off the back of a marvellous week which saw them beat Championship outfits Wellington and Taranaki. Hawke’s Bay also fared rather well last week as they beat Bay of Plenty in a thrilling derby.
Waikato v Hawke’s Bay
Thursday 13 September
To Win (80 Mins)
Hawke’s Bay 33/20
Waikato (-3.5) 9/10
Hawke’s Bay (+3.5) 9/10
What a week this last one proved to be for Waikato as the men who call the FMG Stadium home registered bonus point wins over two Premiership sides in the form of Wellington and Taranaki. The 43-31 victory over the former seemed to lift Waikato to new levels as they put in an attacking masterclass during their 19-33 away win over Taranaki.
This week will be their biggest test however as they take on a Hawke’s Bay side who have only suffered one defeat this term. Hawke’s Bay will also come to town with a different playing style to attacking-orientated sides, Wellington and Taranaki. The Bay will look to control territory and keen Waikato pinned in their own half in a bid to get their forwards pilling the pressure on the opposition line-out.
Last week’s one-point victory over Bay of Plenty spoke volumes about this Hawke’s Bay outfit.
Having trailed at half-time, Hawke’s came out firing and made short work of overturning Bay of Plenty’s five-point lead.
They then went onto surrender that lead and entered the final two and a half minutes of the game still trailing by six points. However, a late try which also happened to be their bonus point try, allowed them to pick up the full five-point haul.
As I touched in the Waikato segment of this piece, Hawke’s Bay will look to strangle their opposition through half backs Mike Delaney and Brad Webber. The duo were in magnificent form during last week’s victory and could well be the difference here.
Verdict: Hawke’s Bay 33/20
Yes, Waikato are in great touch but I think they’ll struggle against a slightly more pragmatic Hawke’s Bay outfit.
Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets