It was my intention to be able to continue the weekly ITM Cup Preview (in the same format) over the next month while at sea. However when I looked at the scale of the task (and the tariff) it became evident it would be next to impossible due to cost and all the distractions on board. So I’ve held my hand up and admitted defeat early in the voyage.
Without boring you with my life story, (which incidentally should be available in paperback and available at all good bookstores for £9.95 by the end of the month). My family and I are emigrating back to New Zealand after 10 great years living in Hertford in the UK.
We are fortunate in the fact that we are not rushing back on a 24 hour flight from Heathrow, and are cruising home on the Pacific Princess, which will take a month and drop us off in our hometown of Dunedin (Otago), New Zealand.
My family and I have never cruised before, so we are learning the ropes as we go. It really is a wonderful way to travel with all the luxuries and conviences you could ever wish for, however you do pay for them. The point I’m really trying to make is that if I paid for the internet access that I use in compiling our ITM Cup Previews on a weekly basis. I would be more broke than I already am upon disembarkment in Port Chalmers, Dunedin.
So my plan is this. I will do my best to keep as much as possible to the existing template in the coming weeks, however I won’t include and update team news and team lists as they become available. This week’s article is a totally different format, but next week I hope normal service will resume (well kind of).
The article may also lack its regular highlighting and italicing – something I know you all look forward to.
So that’s the plan, however the proof will be in the pudding.
When I get my feet back on ‘Terra Firma’, I will look to get back into the groove.
ITM Cup Round 9
This week’s action is chocked full of mouth watering-clashes. Let’s just hope the elements don’t have as much of an influence as they did last week. We kick the round off with a huge North v South Ranfurly Shield clash, with table topping Southland defended the log against an Auckland side that has welded in the heavy artillery for the encounter. Canterbury versus Wellington will also be a tasty affair on Saturday.
Game 57 Southland v Auckland Prediction: Southland by 1-5 points
Auckland’s form has been a little scratchy in recent weeks but they will be well motivated for this one. With potentially several All Blacks back, they should be in with a real chance here, but I’m sticking with the ‘Stags’ (just).
Game 58 Bay of Plenty v Otago Prediction: Bay of Plenty by 5-10 points
Bay of Plenty got out of jail last week to steal a 24-21 win over Counties-Manukau. They will be looking for an easier route to victory this week against an out of sorts Otago side.
Game 59 Canterbury v Wellington Prediction: Canterbury by 5-10 points
Clash of the super heavyweights. Both sides are in need of victory just to keep their play-off ambitions alive.
Game 60 Hawke’s Bay v Taranaki Prediction: Taranaki by 10-15 points
Taranaki were tipped out at the start of the season as potential First Division material, and they sure have lived up to that billing. They rounded off the union’s 125th anniversary celebrations in New Plymouth last week by out-scoring the champions by five tries to two. This although away from home, should be another notch in their belt.
Game 61 Waikato v Tasman Prediction: Waikato by 10-15 points
Waikato were held ‘try less’ (is that a word) last week at home and will be seriously looking to make amends this weekend.
Game 62 North Harbour v Manawatu Prediction: North Harbour by 10-15 points
Craig Dowd and Jeff Wilson are really starting to earn their ‘corn’ with this Harbour outfit – which looks to have plenty left in the tank.
Game 63 Counties-Manukau v Northland Prediction: Counties-Manukau by 1-5 points
This really could go either way. Both sides are locked in a mid table battle, making this a must win, to stay in touch with the competition leaders. The Bombay Boy’s for me to bounce back after losing last week at the hands of BOP.
Over the next four weeks I will try to keep the ‘Preview’ afloat. I am however quite excited that my next full article will come to you from Dunedin, and I am hoping to drop into ‘Sharksworld’ now and again to touch base.
When finally Down Under, I will have to come to grips with reading the ‘Sharksworld’ developments while you’re all asleep, something that will obviously take time to adjust to. Looking forward to blogging with all again soon.
Until Dunedin !
Yours in Rugby