The Canterbury machine rolled on last weekend and this week they will be looking to emulate the star studded Auckland side of the 1980’s in making it three National Provincial Championships in a row.
Wellington gave a good account of themselves in Christchurch last Friday night but ultimately were just not good enough to over run a composed Canterbury side. The Wellingtonian’s closed to within two points of the defending champions with just five minutes remaining on the clock, however Canterbury were able to close ranks a strike twice in the final minutes to win by a flattering margin.
Auckland’s clash with southern rivals Waikato didn’t lack any spice or drama again in what has been a brilliant couple of games for the neutral spectator this season. During round robin play Dwayne Sweeney crossed after the hooter to beat the Aucklander’s at home and low and behold it happened again with replacement prop Hikairo Forbes crashing over close to the uprights for Trent Renata to add the vital extras for the Mooloos to book their place in the 2010 ITM Cup Final against Canterbury.
Semi Final Analysis
Game 92 Canterbury (57) v Wellington (41) Prediction: Wellington by 1-5 points
Game 93 Auckland (37) v Waikato (38) Prediction: Waikato by 5-10 points
Semi Final Win Percentage 1/2 50% Season Win Percentage 63/93 68%
Leading Point Scorer(s) after the Semi Finals
172 – Lachie Munro (Northland)
137 – Colin Slade (Canterbury)
122 – Mike Harris (North Harbour)
113 – Trent Renata (Waikato)
109 – Matt Berquist (Auckland)
102 – Willie Ripia (Taranaki)
102 – Robbie Robinson (Southland)
99 – Glen Dickson (Otago)
91 – Stephen Donald (Waikato)
91 – Gareth Anscombe (Auckland)
Leading Try Scorer(s) after Round 13
10 – Leila Masaga (Waikato)
10 – Robbie Fruean (Canterbury)
9 – Ashlee Tuala (Counties)
9 – Matt Luamanu (North Harbour)
9 – Julian Savea (Wellington)
9 – Telusa Veainu (Canterbury)
7 – Jared Payne (Northland)
7 – Dean Budd (Northland)
7 – Sean Maitland (Canterbury)
6 – Lachie Munroe (Northland)
6 – Taniela Moa (Bay of Plenty)
6 – Jayden Hayward (Taranaki)
Final Round Robin Standings
So from the final standings, first and third qualify for the final with third beating first at home in round robin play, this time they are away – can they do it again !
1. Canterbury (45)
2. Auckland (45)
3. Waikato (44)
4. Wellington (42)
ITM Cup First Division – Playing with the ‘Big Boys’ in 2011
5. Taranaki (42)
6. Bay of Plenty (37)
7. Southland (34)
ITM Cup Second Division 2011
8. Hawke’s Bay (33)
9. Counties-Manukau (31)
10. Northland (29)
11. North Harbour (21)
12. Tasman (20)
13. Manawatu (18)
14. Otago (10)
Game 94 Canterbury v Waikato Prediction: Waikato by 1-5 points
Well when we seriously think about who will win this match it is a no brainer. Canterbury simple as that – or is it. So what do they have that makes them favourites. They have more game breakers than Waikato, they have home ground advantage, and they have the best goal kicker in the competition in Colin Slade.
Waikato on the other hand, as you can see from their ‘Road to the Final Form’ are travelling nicely and deserve an honourable mention.
They can’t win, though can they ?
In team news for Canterbury, Captain George Whitelock returns for the champions on the blindside flank in the place of Ash Parker. Parker drops to the reserve bench, pushing lock Rob Verbakel out of the 22.
For Waikato it is the same starting line up that conquered Auckland after the hooter last Saturday night, there is however an addition on the pine with Brendon Leonard who returns to the side after a sickening head clash head during the Northland game in round ten of the competition.
Our South African viewers will appreciate this Waikato side, it has a genuine forward pack made up of no frill hard working men that all think they can step up to higher honours and many scouts from clubs from around the world will be watching their efforts with real interest.
This year’s ITM Cup has provided one upset after another so in the spirit of the competition, in a game where all the smart money will stay firmly in one’s pocket, I’ll go with the upset – Waikato.
Enjoy the final of the 2010 ITM Cup, as it wet’s your appetite for a huge weekend of International Rugby.
ROAD TO THE FINAL Canterbury:
Round 1: Drew with Hawke’s Bay 23-23
Round 2: Beat Manawatu 27-26
Round 3: Beat North Harbour 44-22
Round 4: Lost to Tasman 25-27
Round 5: Beat Auckland 35-16
Round 6: Beat Bay of Plenty 28-9
Round 7: Beat Northland 27-23
Round 8: Lost to Taranaki 20-31
Round 9: Beat Wellington 37-30
Round 10: Beat Otago 35-20
Round 11: Beat Southland 26-16 (RS)
Round 12: Beat Counties-Manukau 39-21 (RS)
Round 13: Lost to Waikato 6-26
Semi-final: Beat Wellington 57-41
ROAD TO THE FINAL Waikato:
Round 1: Beat Bay of Plenty 13-10
Round 2: Beat Auckland 21-18
Round 3: Lost to Taranaki 23-33
Round 4: Lost to Wellington 14-26
Round 5: Beat Counties-Manukau 39-3
Round 6: Beat North Harbour 36-27
Round 7: Drew with Hawke’s Bay 27-27
Round 8: Lost to Southland 6-7
Round 9: Beat Tasman 33-15
Round 10: Beat Northland 45-33
Round 11: Beat Otago 41-15
Round 12: Beat Manawatu 27-25
Round 13: Beat Canterbury 26-6
Semi-final: Beat Auckland 38-37
Canterbury: 1. Wyatt Crockett, 2. Steve Fualau, 3. Peter Borlase, 4. Luke Romano, 5. Isaac Ross, 6. George Whitelock (Captain), 7. Matt Todd, 8. Nasi Manu, 9. Willi Heinz, 10. Colin Slade, 11. Telusa Veainu, 12. Ryan Crotty, 13. Robbie Fruean, 14. Tu Umaga-Marshall, 15. Sean Maitland.
Reserves: 16. Paul Ngauamo, 17. Andrew Olorenshaw, 18. Ash Parker, 19. Brendon O’Connor, 20. Takerei Norton, 21. Stephen Brett, 22. Sam Monaghan.
Waikato: 1. Toby Smith, 2. Aled de Malmanche, 3. Nathan White (captain), 4. Toby Lynn, 5. Romana Graham, 6. Dominiko Waqaniburotu, 7. Jack Lam, 8. Alex Bradley, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10. Trent Renata, 11. Dwayne Sweeney, 12. Jackson Willison, 13. Save Tokula, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Sosene Anesi.
Reserves: 16. Hikairo Forbes, 17. Ben May, 18. Kent Fife, 19. Zack Hohneck, 20. Jason Leonard, 21. Christian Leali’ifano, 22. Tim Mikkelson.Tweet