Our rugby scribe takes a look at three of this week’s Mitre 10 Cup games including the clash between Wellington and Bay of Plenty.
Some intriguing Mitre 10 Cup action is heading your way this week including encounters between
Southland and Hawkes Bay, Wellington and Bay of Plenty, as well as Auckland versus Counties Manukau.
Southland v Hawke’s Bay | Thursday 15 September | 09:35
To Win (80 Mins)
Southland 19/10 | Draw 21/1 | Hawke’s Bay 4/10
It has been a tough old season for both Southland and Hawke’s Bay who currently occupy positions at the foot of their respective logs. Hawke’s Bay are yet to win a game and are six points off sixth- placed Tasman on the Cup standings while Southland are also yet to win a game and sit at the foot of the Championship log.
The hosts for Thursday’s match are coming off the back of 16 point loss to Taranaki while the visitors were given a proper rugby lesson by champions-elect, Canterbury, as they were hammered 63-7 last Sunday.
We should be in for a bit of a spectacle at Rugby Park as while both teams have their deficiencies, they do like to run the ball from deep. They should be able to illustrate their skills with ball in hand with the local weather bureau predicting that no rain to fall during the encounter – making handling all the more easier.
Verdict: Hawke’s Bay 4/10
The men from the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island should have too much quality for the locals to deal with.
Wellington v Bay of Plenty | Friday 16 September | 09:35
To Win (80 Mins)
Wellington 1/5 | Draw 24/1 | Bay of Plenty 7/2
Our next selected fixture sees a resurgent Wellington take on Bay of Plenty in an all-Championship affair. The two sides are currently separated by two points on the second tier standings and should Bay of Plenty win this one, they’d leapfrog Wellington into second place.
Both sides come into this one off the back of victories with Bay of Plenty hammering Northland 52-25 and Wellington winning the Jonah Lomu Memorial trophy with a nail-biting 21-17 victory over Counties Manukau.
The two sides possess players with Super rugby experience so this should game should be pleasing on the eye. Wellington will look to the likes of Vaea Fifita and Brad Shields to truck the ball up and open up space for their dangerous outside backs to exploit. This will be easier said than done as Bay of Plenty have some hard hitting defenders in the shape of prop Ziggy Fisi’ihoi and Melbourne Rebels-bound, Culum Retallick.
Verdict: Wellington 1/5
The Wellington Lions just look a slight bit more threatening on paper. It’s sure to be a tight affair and I predict Wellington will just edge it by a point or two.
Auckland v Counties Manukau | Sunday 18 September | 04:30
To Win (80 Mins)
Auckland | Draw | Southland
Auckland | Southland *Odds to be added upon release
Auckland and Southland close out week 5 of the Mitre 10 Cup this Sunday. The hosts have started to shift through the gears after an extremely slow start to the season. While they did go down to Waikato by last week, it was by a narrow margin and, in all honesty, it was one of those games that could have gone either way.
Southland, on the other hand, are yet to really click. They have lost all four of their games this term – it could be five by the time rolls as they have a fixture against Hawke’s Bay this Thursday – and are really struggling for cohesion.
Simply put, Auckland will walk this one. Wait for the handicap to come out and back them to clear it!