Last week we talked about the ‘dust settling’ after a hectic Round 1, which was littered with unpredictable results. This week we find ourselves sifting through the wreckage left from a set of Round 2 results that will take some time to decipher.
Everyone enjoys the underdog coming up trumps. However in Round 2 there were no less than four upsets. With four so nearly being six, if it hadn’t been for spirited come from behind second half efforts from Canterbury and Southland.
Counties-Manukau, Bay of Plenty and North Harbour were most likely the sides smiling the most come Sunday evening.
The pick of this week’s Round 3 clashes include another mouth-watering Ranfurly Shield clash, between the table’s two top sides, Southland and Counties Manukau. Last week’s unsuccessful Ranfurly Shield challenges Otago play host to another ‘Super Rugby’ home base franchise in Wellington and Bay of Plenty and Auckland do battle for ‘Top Four’ table status.
Round 2 Analysis
Game 8 Manawatu (26) v Canterbury (27) Prediction: Canterbury by 15-20 pts.
Game 9 Hawke’s Bay (11) v Bay of Plenty (30) Prediction: Hawke’s Bay by 1-5 pts.
Game 10 Taranaki (33) v Tasman (11) Prediction: Taranaki by 10-15 pts.
Game 11 Auckland (18) v Waikato (21) Prediction: Auckland by 5-10 pts.
Game 12 Southland (16) v Otago (12) Prediction: Southland by 10-15 pts.
Game 13 Wellington (25) v Counties-Manukau (31) Prediction: Wellington by 15-20 pts.
Game 14 Northland (24) v North Harbour (25) Prediction: Northland by 1-5 pts.
Round 2 Win Percentage 3/7 43% Season Win Percentage 7/14 50%
Leading Point Scorer(s) after Round 2
22 – Lachie Munro (Northland)
20 – Willie Ripia (Taranaki)
20 – Colin Slade (Canterbury)
20- Glen Dickson (Otago)
20 – Ahsee Tuala (Counties-Manukau)
16 – Trent Renata (Waikato)
16 – Matt Berquist (Auckland)
16 – Baden Kerr (Counties-Manukau)
15- Andrew Horrell (Hawke’s Bay)
14 – James Wilson (Southland)
Leading Try Scorer(s) after Round 2
4 – Ashlee Tuala (Counties)
2 – Robbie Fruean (Canterbury)
2 – Sean Maitland (Canterbury)
2 – Jamie Mackintosh (Southland)
2 – Lote Raikabula (Manawatu)
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).
The big movers this week are Canterbury who moved from 8th into the ‘Top Four’. Going in the other direction were Wellington who crash out of the ‘Top Four’ to 9th, and Hawke’s Bay who slipped from 7th to 12th on the table.
Top Four – Semi Finalists
1. Counties-Manukau (9)
2. Southland (9)
3. Waikato (8)
4. Canterbury (7)
Destined for First Division Status – Playing with the ‘Big Boys’ in 2011
5. Auckland (6)
6. Bay of Plenty (6)
7. Taranaki (6)
Second Division Bound 2011
8. Northland (5)
9. Wellington (5)
10. North Harbour (4)
11. Manawatu (2)
12. Hawke’s Bay (2)
13. Otago (1)
14. Tasman (0)
Round 3 Match Previews
I will do my best to update the team lists as they become available. This week I have included the teams form, which hopefully will give us more of an insight into correctly predicting the match outcomes.
Game 15 Tasman v Hawke’s Bay Prediction: Hawke’s Bay by 5-10 points
Tasman will enjoy being home after two games on the road, against Top 7 opposition.
Hawke’s Bay will however be hurting after getting steam rolled last weekend and will provide another formidable challenge for the cellar dwellers.
Tasman has named Glen Gregory and Afeleki Pelenise in the starting line-up, with both over coming injuries during the week.
Hawke’s Bay get loose head prop Anthony Perenise and and fly half Daniel Kirkpatrick back from injury for their trip to Blenheim. The Bay will also be boosted by the injection of their star All Black fullback, Israel Dagg who has been released from the All Black camp to get some valuable game time before his trip to South Africa.
Tasman ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (A) Lost 11-20 v Wellington
Round 2 : (A) Lost 11-33 v Taranaki
Hawke’s Bay ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (A) Drew 23-23 v Canterbury
Round 2 : (H) Lost 11-30 v Bay of Plenty
Tasman: 1. Sam Prattley, 2. Francis Smith, 3. Fai Mika, 4. Jarrod Aberhart, 5. Chris Jack (captain), 6. Glen Gregory, 7. Jonathan Poff, 8. Poutasi Luafutu, 9. Steve Alfeld, 10. James Marshall, 11. Afeleki Pelenise, 12. Tom Marshall, 13. Kade Poki, 14. Blair Cook, 15. Robbie Malneek.
Reserves: 16. Vernon Fredericks, 17. Hamish Cochrane, 18. Anthony Elisala, 19. Shane Christie, 20. Kaide Whiting, 21. Sione Holani, 22. James Kamana.
Hawke’s Bay: 1. Anthony Perenise, 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. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 11. Zac Guildford, 12. Jason Shoemark (captain), 13. Star Timu, 14. Richard Buckman, 15. Israel Dagg.
Reserves: 16. Eugene Smith, 17. Kas Lealamanua, 18. Leighton Price, 19. Grant Webb, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Andrew Horrell, 22. Sinoti Sinoti.
Game 16 Canterbury v North Harbour Prediction: Canterbury by 10-15 points
All the talk in the ‘Garden City’ is about a certain Sonny Bill Williams. The most talked about player in world rugby looked set to make his long awaited first class rugby debut on New Zealand soil– with the big question on everyone’s lips being ! How good is he ? But alas the SBW saga is set to tantalise the public for yet another week as a tight hamstring ruled him out of contention.
The Canterbury team will however be pleased to be home after a heart stopping 26-27 victory last week against the Turbo’s. They also welcome back some All Black reinforcements before they depart to the Republic.
Canterbury will have the services of Test Match duo Corey Flynn and Sam Whitelock back from the All Black squad prior to their departure to South Aftrica. They are also reinforced by the return of scrum half Takerei Norton, number 8 Nasi Manu, and wing Patrick Osborne following various injuries.
Harbour will be full of confidence after Craig Dowd and Jeff Wilson’s side produced a ‘never say die’ second half to snatch a win against Northland.
Harbour welcome back strongman Ben Afeaki who missed the victory last weekend. James King and Matt Luamanu have both returned to the 22 after being injured against Northland.
Canterbury ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (H) Drew 23-23 v Hawke’s Bay
Round 2 : (A) Won 26-25 v Manawatu
North Harbour ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (H) Lost 14-36 v Auckland
Round 2 : (A) Won 25-24 v Northland
Canterbury: 1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Corey Flynn, 3. Peter Borlase, 4. Sam Whitelock, 5. Isaac Ross, 6. Matt Todd, 7. George Whitelock (captain), 8. Ash Parker, 9. Takerei Norton, 10. Colin Slade, 11. Sam Monaghan, 12. Stephen Brett, 13. Robbie Fruean, 14. Telusa Veainu, 15. Sean Maitland.
Reserves: 16. Paul Ngauamo, 17. Andrew Olorenshaw, 18. Luke Romano, 19. Nasi Manu, 20. Andy Ellis, 21. Robbie Flynn, 22. Patrick Osborne.
North Harbour: 1. Michael Reid (captain), 2. James Parsons, 3. Ben Afeaki, 4. Filo Paulo, 5. Anthony Boric, 6. Matt Luamanu, 7. Tom Chamberlain, 8. Richard Mayhew, 9. Chris Smylie, 10. Michael Harris, 11. Alipate Fatafehi, 12. Luke McAlister, 13. Jack Tarrant, 14. Josh York, 15. Jack McPhee.
Reserves: 16. Mike Mayhew, 17. Taione Vea, 18. James King, 19. Malakai Ravulo, 20. Nalu Tuigamala, 21. Ben Botica, 22. Brendon Watt.
Game 17 Bay of Plenty v Auckland Prediction: Auckland by 1-5 points
The smart money will be on the classy Auckland outfit, who will be keen to atone for its loss at home last weekend.
Bay of Plenty on the other hand is one of the form teams going into Round 3 and will fancy their chances of causing an upset in front of their home fans.
For the Bay, Jason Hona is the only player ruled out after last weeks win. They have however promoted Luke Braid, Phil Burleigh and All Black winger Lelia Masaga to the starting XV.
Auckland have made one change due to injury, with Dave Thomas replacing Chay Raui on the wing.
Bay of Plenty ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (A) Lost 10-13 v Waikato
Round 2 : (A) Won 30-11 v Hawke’s Bay
Auckland ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (A) Won 36-14 v North Harbour
Round 2 : (H) Lost 18-21 v Waikato
Bay of Plenty: 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. John Pareanga, 3. James McGougan, 4. Luke Andrews, 5. Culum Retallick, 6. Luke Braid, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 8. Colin Bourke (captain), 9. Taniela Moa, 10. Phil Burleigh, 11. Lance MacDonald, 12. Grant McQuoid, 13. Brett Mather, 14. Lelia Masaga, 15. Toby Arnold.
Reserves: 16. Simon Chisholm, 17. Joe Savage or Tristan Moran, 18. Aidan Kuka, 19. Sam Cane or Solomon King, 20. Chad Tuoro, 21. Daniel Waenga, 22. Ben W Smith.
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. Dave Thomas, 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. Charles Piutau.
Game 18 Southland v Counties-Manukau Prediction: Southland by 5-10 points
Southland would have been keen to see the back of their southern neighbours last weekend, in what was a torrid old fashion Ranfurly Shield encounter. The Southlander’s were the better side and played an expansive composed brand of rugby, they will hope it will be enough to overcome a confident Steelers’ team, that will be further bolstered by the return of Tana Umaga.
The Steelers’ boast the competitions leading try scorer in Ashlee Tuala and will be right up for a tilt at the shield before the big sides arrive in Invercargill. Impressive wins against Otago and Wellington will mean Milton Haig’s team cannot be under estimated.
Southland replace Ex American Footballer, Joe Tuineau at lock with Alex Ryan. Kane Thompson gets a start at No 8 ahead of the impressive Elliot Dixon, while Highlanders winger James Paterson has been named on the wing in place of Mark Wells.
The Steelers rotate Tana Umaga back for this match. No one, not even the veteran Umaga have tasted Shield Success.
Southland ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (A) Won 37-23 v Manawatu
Round 2 : (H) Won 16-12 v Otago
Counties-Manukau ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (H) Won 29-13 v Otago
Round 2 : (A) Won v 31-25 Wellington
Southland: 1. Jamie Mackintosh (captain), 2. Jason Rutledge, 3. Chris King, 4. Josh Bekhuis, 5. Alex Ryan, 6. John Hardie, 7. Tim Boys, 8. Kane Thompson, 9. Scott Cowan, 10. James Wilson, 11. James Paterson, 12. Matt Saunders, 13. Kendrick Lynn, 14. Glen Horton, 15. Robbie Robinson.
Reserves: 16. Bayden Mitchell, 17. Nic Barrett, 18. Dion Bates, 19. Elliot Dixon, 20. Sonny Rangitohereri, 21. Mark Wells, 22. Tony Koonwaiyou.
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. Tana Umaga, 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. Reynold Lee-Lo, 22. David Raikuna.
Game 19 Otago v Wellington Prediction: Otago by 1-5 points
Otago will be heartened by their much improved outing last week against Southland where the forwards excelled themselves. Unfortunately this week they will be missing their ‘granite like’ South African loose forward Eben Joubert who dislocated his shoulder against Southland and may not feature for some time.
Wellington will be down on confidence and under pressure to deliver at Carisbrook, after losing at home to Counties- Manukau last Sunday.
Otago make just the one enforced change, with South African Eben Joubert (shoulder damage, four to six weeks) ruled out. Peter Grant moves into the starting XV.
For Wellington, John Schwalger comes back into an otherwise unchanged pack for Wellington. Wellington is also fortunate to have the services of released All Black scrum half Alby Mathewson and Charlie Ngatai ahead of Ruki Tipuna and Alipate Leiua respectively.
Otago ITM Cup Form :
Round 1: (A) Lost 13-29 v Counties-Manukau
Round 2 : (A) Lost 12-16 v Southland
Wellington ITM Cup Form :
Round 1: (H) Won 20-11 v Tasman
Round 2 : (H) Lost 25-31 v Counties-Manukau
Otago: 1. Kees Meeuws, 2. Peter Mirrielees, 3. Sam Hibbard, 4. Hoani Matenga, 5. Hayden Triggs, 6. Peter Grant, 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. Brad Cameron, 20. Johnny Legg, 21. Andrew Parata, 22. Joe Hill.
Wellington: 1. John Schwalger, 2. Dane Coles, 3. Neemia Tialata (captain), 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. Daniel Ramsay, 6. Mark Reddish, 7. Scott Fuglistaller, 8. Faifili Levave, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Fa’atonu Fili, 11. Hosea Gear, 12. Sean Treeby, 13. Charlie Ngatai, 14. Julian Savea, 15. Apoua Stewart.
Reserves: 16. Ged Robinson, 17. Jacob Ellison, 18. Api Naikatini, 19. TJ Ioane, 20. Ruki Tipuna, 21. Hayden Cripps, 22. Alipate Leiua.
Game 20 Northland v Manawatu Prediction: Northland by 1-5 points
Manawatu were desperately unlucky not to beat the defending champions Canterbury last week, eventually succumbing 26-27 at home.
On paper Manawatu’s backs look as good as any in the competition and their New Zealand Sevens exponents, Lote Raikabula and Tomasi Cama are proving a real threat to oppositions defences, with them netting three tries between them last weekend.
Northland just let their concentration slip, as well as a sizable second half lead against Harbour last week.
Northland lose Rene Ranger to All Black duty ahead of the pending trip to South Africa. This has meant the Northland backline has been reshuffled.
Manawatu continue to be hit by injury. Jamie Oliver’s (not the Naked Chef) elbow dislocation last weekend means he will miss this weekend. Other than that coach Dave Rennie has done little more than tinker with his substitutes.
Northland ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (A) Won 26-19 v Taranaki
Round 2 : (H) Lost 24-25 v North Harbour
Manawatu ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (H) Lost 23-37 v Southland
Round 2 : (H) Lost 26-27 v Canterbury
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. Bryce Heem, 12. Aaron Bancroft, 13. Jared Payne (captain), 14. Simon Munro, 15. Lachie Munro.
Reserves: 16. Tim Dow, 17. Ross Wright, 18. Roy Griffin, 19. Cameron Goodhew, 20. Rhyan Caine, 21. Iwi Hauraki, 22. Adam Clarke.
Manawatu: 1. Grant Polson (captain), 2. Rob Foreman, 3. Ma’afu Fia, 4. Michael Fitzgerald, 5. Reece Robinson, 6. Nick Crosswell, 7. Doug Tietjens, 8. Hamish Gosling, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Tomasi Cama, 11. Lote Raikabula, 12. Hadleigh Parkes, 13. Shannon Paku, 14. Casey Stone, 15. Craig Clare.
Reserves: 16. Sean O’Connor, 17. Shane Kingsland, 18. Fraser Stone, 19. Mitchell Crosswell or Bertus Mulder, 20. Karl Bryson, 21. Isaac Thompson, 22. Asaeli Tikoirotuma.
Game 21 Waikato v Taranaki Prediction: Waikato by 5-10 points
Waikato return home, after the roving Dwayne Sweeney snatched victory on the hooter last weekend at Eden Park.
Taranaki stormed back to form last weekend against Tasman after a disappointing Round 1. This is a farming derby, that will be hard fought and close.
Waikato’s Liam Messam is not travelling with the All Blacks so will be back in a powerful pack for this weekend. Changes up front include the rotation of Alex Bradley and Vern Kamo into the starting pack with Aled de Malmanche bracketed in the reserves.
Taranaki is the most settled side in the ITM Cup, naming an unchanged side for the third straight week.
Waikato ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (H) Won 13-10 v Bay of Plenty
Round 2 : (A) Won 21-18 v Auckland
Taranaki ITM Cup Form:
Round 1: (H) Lost 19-26 v Northland
Round 2 : (H) Won 33-11 v Tasman
Waikato: 1. Toby Smith, 2. Vern Kamo, 3. Nathan White (captain), 4. Romana Graham, 5. Toby Lynn, 6. Liam Messam, 7. Jack Lam, 8. Alex Bradley, 9. Brendon Leonard, 10. Trent Renata, 11. Dwayne Sweeney, 12. Christian Leali’ifano, 13. Save Tokula, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Sosene Anesi.
Reserves: 16. Aled de Malmanche or Andre Ellison, 17. Hikairo Forbes, 18. Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 19. Matt Vant Leven, 20. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21. Tim Mikkelson, 22. Sam Christie.
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, 11. David Smith, 12. Jayden Hayward, 13. George Pisi, 14. Andre Taylor, 15. Kurt Baker.
Reserves: 16. Timo Tutavaha, 17. Carl Carmichael, 18. Samuela Vunisa, 19. Scott Waldrom, 20. Brett Goodin, 21. Isaia Tuifua, 22. Beauden Barrett.Tweet