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PREVIEW: Tasman favourites against Otago, Canterbury host Wellington in NPC

Darry Worthington previews this weekend’s NPC clashes between Tasman and Otago as well as Wellington’s trip to Canterbury.

Canterbury V Taranaki - NPC
Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Darry Worthington previews this weekend's NPC clashes between Tasman and Otago as well as Wellington's trip to Canterbury.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone
Standings provided by SofaScore LiveScore

Week 2 of the NPC throws up some more intriguing games with the two headline clashes seeing Otago take on Tasman and Canterbury face off with Wellington. Darry Worthington takes a look at these games and also gives his tips for the remaining fixtures.

Otago v Tasman
Saturday 13 August
Forsyth Barr

To Win (80 Mins)
Otago 28/10 | Draw 25/1 | Tasman 29/100

Tasman head to Forysth Barr off the back of a rather shaky 27-20 victory over a fired up Southland side. The Mako looked pretty good during the first half of the game as they scored three tries with blockbusting centre Levi Aumua’s charging run setting up their second try, which was the pick of the trio.

The Marko failed to kick on in the second quarter with poor ball handling and ill-discipline allowing Southland right back into the fixture. Despite not scoring a point in the second stanza, Tasman would manage to hold out for a 27-20 win.

Unlike their opponents for this Saturday, Otago kicked off their campaign on a losing note as they went down 23-22 to Counties Manukau After a slow start to the fixture, Otago found themselves 10-0 down with ten-minutes to half time. They would respond with a converted try just before the break and then parity was restored with Josh Ioane slotting a penalty to make it 10-10 . It looked like they were on for a win having scored two tries before the 65th minute which left them with a lead of 13-22. It was not to be, however, as Counties staged a late comeback with a converted try and a late drop goal seeing Otago go down 23-22.

Verdict: Tasman (-)
They may not have been at their best last week but this is a solid Tasman side. I reckon their midfield of Levi Aumua and Alex Nackivell will give Otago all sorts of problems. Tasman should take this one by more than 15.

Canterbury v Wellington
Saturday 13 August
OrangeTheory Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Canterbury 31/100 | Draw 25/1 | Wellington 26/10

There’s an absolute classic in the making next up with traditional powerhouses Canterbury and Wellington squaring off at the OrangeTheory.

Canterbury were by far the more impressive of the sides in week 1 dispatching Manawatu 15-62 in an extremely one-sided affair. The stars of the show were the half-back pairing as Mitch Drummond and Ferguson Burke bossed proceedings.

Wellington worked a a lot harder for their victory. They were pushed right to the death by a very handy-looking Bay of Plenty outfit. The Lions dug deep, however, and managed to win the game courtesy of a late Riley Higgins try.

Verdict: Wellington
Like Tasman, Wellington weren’t at their best last weekend. That said, I reckon their loaded side will come good here at a big price.

NPC week 2 tips

Counties Manukau to beat Hawke’s Bay @ 1/11
Northland to beat Waikato @ 5/1 (Value Bet)
Taranaki to beat Bay of Plenty @ 1/1
Auckland to beat Southland @ 1/6
North Harbour to beat Manawatu @ 1/6

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