Now that the dust has settled on the first round of the ITM Cup. We can see how our predictions stacked up against the actual results. The upsets of the round came from last year’s minnows, Northland and Counties-Manukau, with both beating more fancied opposition. They along with Hawke’s Bay, Southland, Waikato, Auckland and Wellington will be happy with their opening weeks work.
Feature matches in Round 2 include a Ranfurly Shield challenge from Otago as they take on their Highlander neighbours Southland. As well as Auckland hosting Waikato, which has all the hallmarks of a potential semi final ? This game is always a spectacle with plenty of Blues and Chiefs ‘Super Rugby’ talent on display.
Round 1 Analysis
Game 1 Taranaki (19) v Northland (26) Prediction: Taranaki by 10-15 pts.
Game 2 Canterbury (23) v Hawkes Bay (23) Prediction: Canterbury by 5-10 pts.
Game 3 Manawatu (23) v Southland (37) Prediction: Southland by 10-15 pts.
Game 4 Counties Manukau (29) v Otago (13) Prediction: Otago by 5-10 pts.
Game 5 Waikato (13) v Bay of Plenty (10) Prediction: Waikato by 5-10 pts.
Game 6 North Harbour (14) v Auckland (36) Prediction: Auckland by 10-15 pts.
Game 7 Wellington (20) v Tasman (11) Prediction: Wellington by 15-20 pts.
Round 1 Win Percentage 4/7 57% Season Win Percentage 4/7 57%
Leading Point Scorers after Round 1:
16 – Lachie Munro (Northland)
14 – Willie Ripia (Taranaki)
13 – Colin Slade (Canterbury)
11 – James Wilson (Southland) & Ash Moeke (Auckland)
Leading Try Scorer after Round 1:
2 – Ahsee Tuala (Counties Manukau)
When I look to outline the points table, I will split it into three parts. The ‘Top Four’ Semi Finalists (Teams placed 1st to 4th). Those ‘Destined for First Division Status – Playing with the Big Boys in 2011’ (Teams placed 5th to 7th), and the teams ‘Second Division Bound in 2011’ (Teams placed 8th to 14th).
This week’s table has the less fancied Northland and Counties-Manukau in the top half of the table. Competition favourites Canterbury are in 8th place after the opening round.
Top Four – Semi Finalists
1. Auckland (5) 2. Counties-Manukau (5) 3. Southland (5) 4. Wellington (4)
Destined for First Division Status – Playing with the ‘Big Boys’ in 2011
5. Northland (4) 6. Waikato (4) 7. Hawke’s Bay (2)
Second Division Bound 2011
8. Canterbury (2) 9. Bay of Plenty (1) 10. Taranaki (1) 11. Tasman (0) 12. Manawatu (0) 13. Otago (0) 14. North Harbour (0)
Round 2 Match Previews
I will do my best to update the team lists as they become available.
Game 8 Manawatu v Canterbury Prediction: Canterbury by 15-20 points
Manawatu welcome their second South Island visitor in as many weeks, and the task look no easier.
Manawatu struggled to live with Southland last week losing at home 23-37.
Turbos coach Dave Rennie has made a number of changes. Firstly moving star back Shannon Paku from wing to centre. Casey Stone comes in on the right wing and Junior Tomasi Cama will start at fly-half. Other changes in the forwards include flanker James Oliver and hooker Rob Foreman coming into the starting line up.
Manawatu will be encouraged by their second half performance against Southland, and Hadleigh Parkes will be one who will be keen to continue his eye catching Round 1 form.
Canterbury unveil two debutants in there line up. Fourth choice halfback Matt George and wing Sam Monaghan replacing the injured Willy Heinz and Patrick Osborne respectively. Tu Umaga-Marshall also replaces the injured Ryan Crotty at centre, while Andy Ellis and Robbie Fruean return from injury to the Red and Blacks bench.
Canterbury were denied a win last week with a last gasp penalty goal from Hawke’s Bay and had to settle for a 23-23 draw at home.
Manawatu: 15 Craig Clare, 14 Casey Stone,13 Shannon Paku, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Lote Raikabula, 10 Tomasi Cama, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nick Crosswell (c), 7 Doug Tietjens, 6 James Oliver, 5 Reece Robinson, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Grant Polson.
Reserves: 16 Sean O’Connor, 17 Shane Kingsland, 18 Fraser Stone, 19 Mitchell Crosswell, 20 Karl Bryson, 21 Tevita Taufui, 22 Asaeli Tikoirotuma.
Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Tu Umaga-Marshall, 12 Stephen Brett, 11 Sam Monaghan, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Matt George, 8 Ash Parker, 7 George Whitelock (c), 6 Matt Todd, 5 Isaac Ross, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Pete Borlase, 2 Steve Fualau, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Reserves: 16 Paul Ngauamo, 17 Andrew Olorenshaw, 18 Rob Verbakel, 19 Brendon O’Connor, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Robbie Flynn, Robbie Fruean.
Game 9 Hawke’s Bay v Bay of Plenty Prediction: Hawke’s Bay by 1-5 points
This match pits two of the form teams of the opening round against each other, even though neither team won. It promises to be a close affair, which could go either way.
For Hawke’s Bay fly half Daniel Kirkpatrick took a head knock last week and is replaced by Andrew Horrell. Michael Johnson also returns to the starting line-up replacing Trent Boswell-Wakefield’s.
BOP merely tinker with their match 22, bracketing props Joe Savage and James McGougan – and interchanging Luke Braid and Solomon King between the bench and the starting XV.
Hawke’s Bay fronted up well in the forwards last week against a strong Canterbury pack, with Hikawera Elliot and Mike Coman turning in eye catching performances.
BOP’s Culum Retallick and Colin Bourke were also powerful in lasts weeks closely fought 13-10 loss to Waikato.
Hawke’s Bay: 1. Kas Lealamanua, 2. Hikawera Elliot, 3. Clint Newland, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Ross Kennedy, 6. Michael Johnson, 7. Karl Lowe, 8. Mike Coman, 9. Kahn Fotuali’i, 10. Andrew Horrell, 11. Zac Guildford, 12. Ryan McLeod, 13. Jason Shoemark (captain), 14. Richard Buckman, 15. Luke Rooney.
Reserves: 16. Eugene Smith, 17. Anthony Perenise, 18. Leighton Price, 19. Grant Webb, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Star Timu, 22. Mark Jackman.
Bay of Plenty: 1. Joe Savage or James McGougan, 2. John Pareanga, 3. Josh Hohneck, 4. Luke Andrews, 5. Culum Retallick, 6. Solomon King, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 8. Colin Bourke (captain), 9. Taniela Moa, 10. Daniel Waenga, 11. Jason Hona, 12. Grant McQuoid, 13. Brett Mather, 14. Lance MacDonald, 15. Toby Arnold.
Reserves: 16. Simon Chisholm, 17. McGougan or Savage, 18. Aidan Kuka, 19. Luke Braid, 20. Chad Tuoro, 21. Phil Burleigh, 22. Lelia Masaga.
Game 10 Taranaki v Tasman Prediction: Taranaki by 10-15 points
Taranaki will be looking to bounce back after a very disappointing opening fixture.
Taranaki lost their opening fixture of the season 19-26 to the less fancied Northland.
Tasman battled a strong Wellington side last week as well as the weather conditions losing 11-20.
Taranaki has bracketed Willie Ripia and Beauden Barrett at fly half. Scott Waldrom is also bracketed with Kane Barrett on the reserves bench.
For Tasman, Afaleki Pelenise is replaced on the wing by James Kamana, and Glen Gregory and Tevita Kolomatangi are bracketed on the side of the scrum.
Taranaki: 1. Shane Cleaver, 2. Laurence Corlett, 3. Michael Bent, 4. James Broadhurst, 5. Craig Clarke (captain), 6. Jarrad Hoeata, 7. Chris Walker, 8. Ben Souness, 9. Tyson Keats, 10. Willie Ripia or Beauden Barrett, 11. David Smith, 12. Jayden Hayward, 13. George Pisi, 14. Andre Taylor, 15. Kurt Baker.
Reserves: 16. Timo Tutavaha, 17. Carl Carmichael, 18. Scott Waldrom or Kane Barrett, 19. Samuela Vunisa, 20. Brett Goodin, 21. Isaia Tuifua, 22. Beauden Barrett or Codey Rei.
Tasman: 1. Sam Prattley, 2. Francis Smith, 3. Fai Mika, 4. Jarrod Aberhart, 5. Chris Jack (captain), 6. Glen Gregory or Tevita Kolomatangi, 7. Jonathan Poff, 8. Poutasi Luafutu, 9. Steve Alfeld, 10. James Marshall, 11. James Kamana, 12. Tom Marshall, 13. Kade Poki, 14. Blair Cook, 15. Robbie Malneek.
Reserves: 16. Vernon Fredericks, 17. Hamish Cochrane, 18. Kolomatangi or Anthony Elisala, 19. Shane Christie, 20. Kaide Whiting, 21. Daniel Hawkins, 22. Sione Holani.
Game 11 Auckland v Waikato Prediction: Auckland by 5-10 points
This is the first clash of ‘Super Rugby’ home base franchises, and this one traditionally is always a spicy encounter.
Auckland scored five tries when they crossed the bridge last weekend against little brother North Harbour. They can expect Waikato to be a lot less easy to intimidate.
Auckland will be expected to win, however Waikato also will fancy their chances of getting something out of the game.
Auckland name the same 22 that played North Harbour in Round 1. There is only one change in the run on side being the return of fly half Matt Berquist ahead of Ash Moeke.
Waikato has lost captain Liam Messam to the All Black camp in Christchurch this weekend and Jackson Willison has a hamstring strain. This has given starts to Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Henry Speight.
Auckland: 1. Tevita Mailau, 2. Tom McCartney, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 4.Kurtis Haiu, 5. Andrew van der Heijden, 6. Onosai’i Auva’a, 7. Daniel Braid, 8. Peter Saili, 9. Toby Morland, 10. Matt Berquist, 11. Chay Raui, 12. Jamie Helleur, 13. Ben Atiga, 14. Atieli Pakalani, 15. Brent Ward.
Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon, 17. Pauliasi Manu, 18. Liaki Moli, 19. Chris Lowery, 20. Brenton Helleur, 21. Ash Moeke, 22. Dave Thomas.
Waikato: 1. Toby Smith, 2. Aled de Malmanche, 3. Nathan White (captain), 4. Romana Graham, 5. Toby Lynn, 6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 7. Jack Lam, 8. Stephen Setephano, 9. Brendon Leonard, 10. Trent Renata, 11. Dwayne Sweeney, 12. Christian Leali’ifano, 13. Save Tokula, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Sosene Anesi.
Reserves: 16. Vern Kamo, 17. Hikairo Forbes, 18. Matt Vant Leven, 19. Alex Bradley, 20. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21. Tim Mikkelson, 22. Sam Christie.
Game 12 Southland v Otago Prediction: Southland by 10-15 points
This fixture doubles as a Ranfurly Shield match. Otago will need to make huge strides in performance if they are to bring the ‘Log of Wood’ home for the first time since 1957.
Southland looks stronger all across the park. They have said that they will be looking to attack Otago’s set piece. Which should be interesting as it is Otago’s point of strength.
Otago look to have their back against the wall in this encounter. Only All Black Ben Smith and replacement flanker Eben Joubert (sounds surprisingly South African) left the field last weekend after a humiliating lose to Counties-Manukau, with their heads held high.
In team news, for Southland the only change is James Paterson being bracketed with Mark Wells on the Southland wing.
For Otago the same 22 from last week has been named, however Hoani Matenga and Eben Joubert come into the starting XV, with Seko Kalou and Peter Grant dropping to the bench.
Southland: 1. Jamie Mackintosh (captain), 2. Jason Rutledge, 3. Chris King, 4. Josh Bekhuis, 5. Joe Tuineau, 6. John Hardie, 7. Tim Boys, 8. Elliot Dixon, 9. Scott Cowan, 10. James Wilson, 11. James Paterson or Mark Wells, 12. Matt Saunders, 13. Kendrick Lynn, 14. Glen Horton, 15. Robbie Robinson.
Reserves: 16. Bayden Mitchell, 17. Nic Barrett or Michael Peterson, 18. Dion Bates, 19. Kane Thompson, 20. Sonny Rangitohereri, 21. Wells or Pehi Te Whare, 22. Tony Koonwaiyou.
Otago: 1. Kees Meeuws, 2. Peter Mirrielees, 3. Sam Hibbard, 4. Hoani Matenga, 5. Hayden Triggs, 6. Eben Joubert, 7. Alando Soakai (captain), 8. Adam Thomson, 9. Sean Romans, 10. Glenn Dickson, 11. Fetu’u Vainikolo, 12. Josh Tatupu, 13. Ben Smith, 14. Ryan Shortland, 15. Chris Small.
Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman, 17. Blair Young, 18. Seko Kalou, 19. Peter Grant, 20. Johnny Legg, 21. Andrew Parata, 22. Joe Hill.
Game 13 Wellington v Counties-Manukau Prediction: Wellington by 15-20 points
This match is between two of the ‘Top Four’ on the current points table after Round one.
Both sides will be hoping for better weather conditions in the capital in order to unleash their running game.
Wellington played well in horrendous conditions last week to beat Tasman 20-11.
Tana Umaga’s Counties produced one of the upsets of Round 1 beating Otago 29-13.
This looks a far sterner test for the boys from south of the Bombay Hills.
In team news, Dean Cummins and Tana Umaga are not in the Counties-Manukau lineup this week in the only two changes from Round 1. Out for Wellington is prop John Schwalger and flanker Mark Reddish.
Wellington: 1. Red Goodes, 2. Dane Coles, 3. Neemia Tialata (captain), 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Daniel Ramsay, 6. Api Naikatini, 7. Scott Fuglistaller, 8. Faifili Levave, 9. Ruki Tipuna, 10. Fa’atonu Fili, 11. Hosea Gear, 12. Sean Treeby, 13. Alipate Leiua, 14. Julian Savea, 15. Apoua Stewart.
Reserves: 16. Ged Robinson, 17. Justin Va’a, 18. TJ Ioane, 19. Masefau Leuluniu, 20. Jared Kahu, 21. Hayden Cripps, 22. Charlie Ngatai.
Counties-Manukau: 1. Simon Lemalu, 2. Grant Henson, 3. Jono Owen, 4. Taiasina Tuifua, 5. Jamie Chipman (captain), 6. Fritz Lee, 7. Pepa Kolomatangi, 8. Viliami Fihaki, 9. August Pulu, 10. Baden Kerr, 11. Sherwin Stowers, 12. Reynold Lee-Lo, 13. Siale Piutau, 14. Ahsee Tuala, 15. Tim Nanai-Williams.
Reserves: 16. Mark Price, 17. Jeremiah Fatialofa, 18. Ronald Raaymakers, 19. Mark Selwyn, 20. Samisoni Fisilau, 21. James Semple, 22. David Raikuna.
Game 14 Northland v North Harbour Prediction: Northland by 1-5 points
This is a Blues franchise derby. It should be another closely fought affair, with players keen to press their case for Super Rugby contracts in the newly expanded Super 15.
Luke McAlister will again look to be the inspiration for the Aucklander’s, his 65 metre penalty last week was Francois Steyn like.
Harbour come off a heavy loss against Auckland at home 14-36.
Northland will again rely on their accurate kicking game from hand and at goal. As well as the threat Rene Ranger gives them in the middle of the park.
Northland will be keen to produce their away form from last week in front of their home fans.
Northland has named the same 22 that started against Taranaki last week.
Harbour have four players returning from injury in James King, Anthony Boric Filo Paulo and Chris Smylie. Ben Afeaki however is a big loss in the front row.
Northland: 1. Matt Wallis, 2. Mikaele Tuu’u, 3. Bronson Murray, 4. Pat O’Connor, 5. Mark Burman, 6. Dean Budd, 7. Dan Pryor, 8. Cameron Eyre, 9. Luke Hamilton, 10. David Holwell, 11. Lachie Munro, 12. Aaron Bancroft, 13. Rene Ranger, 14. Simon Munro, 15. Jared Payne (captain).
Reserves: 16. Tim Dow, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Roy Griffin, 19. Cameron Goodhew, 20. Rhyan Caine, 21. Iwi Hauraki, 22. Bryce Heem.
North Harbour: 1. Michael Reid (captain), 2. James Parsons, 3. Ben Afeaki, 4. Matt Luamanu, 5. Shane Neville, 6. Tom Chamberlain, 7. Scott Uren, 8. Richard Mayhew, 9. Grayson Hart, 10. Michael Harris, 11. Alipate Fatafehi, 12. Luke McAlister, 13. Brendon Watt, 14. Ken Pisi, 15. Jack McPhee.
Reserves: 16. Mike Mayhew, 17. Taione Vea, 18. William Whetton, 19. Malakai Ravulo, 20. Nalu Tuigamala, 21. Ben Botica, 22. Jack Tarrant.Tweet