Our rugby scribe gives his tips for three of the week 4 Mitre 10 Cup games which get underway on Thursday the 8th of September.
My domestic form may have deserted me this past weekend but my overseas tips were on song. Two from three in the Mitre Ten Cup and a nice little boost from a Saracens victory over Worcester ensured the damage done to my wallet by a strange set of Currie Cup results was less than it could have been.
Anyway, were not in the business of damage limitation but rather making a substantial profit. So without further adieu, let’s go make some money!
*Please note that this preview was compiled before Wednesday’s game between Hawke’s Bay and Auckland
Taranaki v Southland | Thursday 8 September | 09:35
To Win (80 Mins)
Taranaki 1/16 | Draw 42/1 | Southland 13/2
Taranaki (-19.5) 9/10 | Southland (+19.5) 9/10
We kick things off on Thursday with a game between Premiership club Taranaki and Championship side Southland. The two team have had polar opposite starts to their respective campaigns with Taranaki currently occupying third spot on the Premiership log and Southland currently sitting at the foot of the Championship.
The hosts saw their unbeaten run in the tournament come to an abrupt halt last week with Tasman edging them 25-20 in a tight and niggly affair out in Tasman. While Tasman will be disappointed at seeing their unbeaten run come to an end, Southland could only wish for such a positive start. Hoani MacDonald’s side are yet to win a game this term going down 40-17 to Otago in the opening round, losing to Manawatu by three points in the second round and then getting hammered 51-16 by Auckland in last week.
Verdict: Taranaki (-19.5) 9/10
This should be a walk in the park for Taranaki. They have a better squad, are in better form and have home ground advantage.
Counties Manukau v Wellington | Friday 9 September | 09:40
To Win (80 Mins)
Counties 8/10 | Draw 18/1 | Wellington 21/20
Counties put in one of the performances of the season last week dismantling a Hawke’s Bay side that had gone into the fixture as heavy favourites. Counties’ 48-20 victory saw them jump up to second spot on the Cup standings – four points off table-toppers Canterbury.
While Counties have enjoyed a solid start to the season, Wellington have struggled to find their footing in the second tier of the Mitre 10 Cup. The wheels have sort of fallen off for Wellington after they opened their campaign with an impressive 36-26 over Hawke’s Bay; they were hammered by Otago 44-21 the week after their victory over Hawke’s Bay. And while they did manage to see off North Habour 21-17 last week, it was a far from convincing display from a side that is littered with players who have Super Rugby experience.
Verdict: Counties Manukau 8/10
They were extremely impressive last week and I reckon they impress once again. Get on Counties on the straight win at?
Canterbury v Hawke’s Bay | Sunday 11 September | 04:45
To Win (80 Mins)
Canterbury 1/25 | Draw 30/1 | Hawke’s Bay 17/2
Canterbury | Hawkes Bay *Odds to be added upon release
Our final previewed game for the week pits the all-conquering defending champions against a Hawke’s Bay outfit who are yet to live up to all the pre-season hype that surrounded them.
Canterbury continued their perfect start to their title defence last week picking up their third successive bonus point win. The 52-34 victory, over an out of sorts Northland, may not have been out of the top draw but who needs clinical performances when you can score three tries inside the opening ten minutes of a game!
Hawke’s Bay come into this one with off the back of their third defeat of the season. They really haven’t looked a cohesive bunch and their flyhalf, Ihia West, has cut a frustrated figure when he’s been out on the park with his centres seemingly on a completely different wavelength to himself.
Verdict: Canterbury (-) *Handicap to be added upon release
Hawke’s Bay are in for a tough night out in Canterbury this Sunday. Back the host to clear the handicap with confidence.