As Dunedin residents look out the window at blizzard conditions, never has it been more perfect to head down to the local rugby ground to watch their team on Wednesday evening – with the first world indoor rugby ground earning its keep very early. During Round 9 every side showed that anyone is capable of beating anyone in this competition with the race for the Premiership still wide open. Bay of Plenty’s third loss in a row meant that it was knocked off the top of the points log. In the Championship Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay look like they will battle out the right to play-off in the final and ultimately gain Premiership status for 2012.
Week 9 Review
How Auckland and Southland managed to gain wins in Round 9 is anyone’s guess. Close results and upsets continue to reign supreme in this year’s ITM Cup with a congested look about the race for the Premiership title. Round 10: mid week clashes give the opportunity to Auckland (Premiership) and Manawatu (Championship) to keep their names in the play-off frame against Tasman and Otago away from home.
Week 9 Results & Analysis
Game 43 Auckland (25) v (22)Counties Manukau Prediction: Auckland by 15-20 points
Game 44 Taranaki (26) v (23) Tasman Prediction: Taranaki by 10-15 points
Game 45 Southland (25) v (23) North Harbour (RS) Prediction: Southland by 10-15 points
Game 46 Bay of Plenty (13) v (32) Hawke’s Bay Prediction: Bay of Plenty by 10-15 points
Game 47 Wellington (25) v (31) Manawatu Prediction: Wellington by 10-15 points
Game 48 Canterbury (28) v (13) Northland Prediction: Canterbury by 15-20 points
Game 49 Waikato (25) v (10) Otago Prediction: Waikato by 15-20 points
Week 9 Win Percentage 5/7 71% Season Win Percentage 27/49 55%
Sharksworld Superbru Pool (Pool Size 43)
1st BIG BITE 42.58
2nd Wimpie 41.58
3rd Sam 41.50
4th HH 39.58
ITM Premiership Points Table – Week 9 (Games played in brackets)
1. Waikato (7) – 24
2. Taranaki (7) – 23
3. Bay of Plenty (7) – 22
4. Canterbury (7) – 22
5. Auckland (7) – 20
6. Southland (7) – 17
7. Wellington (7) – 16
ITM Championship Points Table – Week 9 (Games played in brackets)
1. Manawatu (7) – 24
2. Hawke’s Bay (7) – 24
3. Otago (7) – 15
4. Northland (7) – 13
5. Counties Manukau (7) – 12
6. North Harbour (7) – 7
7. Tasman (7) – 7
Match Previews – Week 10
Game 50 Tasman v Auckland Prediction: Auckland by 10-15 points
This is close even though Tasman’s results have been on the wrong side of the score sheet for the best part of the season. That said they are at home and sure to be desperate to round out the season with some strong performances on home turf. Auckland are still in the play-off mix and will have to pull out all the stops to get a result here south of Cook Strait.
Tasman: 1. Fai Mika, 2. Quentin MacDonald, 3. Sam Prattley, 4. Pablo Heuete, 5. Joe Wheeler, 6. Liam Squire, 7. Shane Christie, 8. Mark Bright, 9. Steve Alfeld, 10. James Marshall, 11. Lucky Mulipola, 12. Andrew Goodman (capt), 13. Kieron Fonotia, 14. Robbie Malneek, 15. Tom Marshall.
Reserves: 16. Francis Smith, 17. Craig Moore, 18. Tevita Kolomatangi, 19. Vernon Fredricks, 20. Shawn Begg, 21. Jack Umaga, 22. Mitchell Scott, 23. Hamish Cochrane.
Auckland: 1. Tom McCartney (capt), 2. Ash Dixon, 3. Tevita Mailau, 4. Josh Townsend, 5. Steve Luatua, 6. Peter Saili, 7. Sean Polwart, 8. Chris Lowrey, 9. Toby Morland, 10. Piers Francis, 11. Charles Piutau, 12. Teddy Stanaway, 13. Hadleigh Parkes, 14. Joe Rokocoko, 15. Brent Ward.
Reserves: 16. Pauliasi Manu, 17. Charlie Faumuina, 18. Liaki Moli, 19. Sam Henwood, 20. Alby Mathewson, 21. Gareth Anscombe, 22. Francis Saili, 23. Angus Ta’avao.
REFEREE: Mike Fraser
Game 51 Counties Manukau v North Harbour Prediction: Counties Manukau by 10-15 points
Both these sides competed for the most unlucky losers of the season in very narrow losses over the weekend, as they both clutched defeat from the jaws of victory in the dying stages of their matches against Southland and Auckland respectively. Harbours Ranfurly Shield loss may take more getting over than Counties injury time disallowed try at Eden Park and they will find it hard to back-up again away from home here in South Auckland.
Game 52 Otago v Manawatu Prediction: Manawatu by 15-20 points
The snow has been falling in Dunedin all week and the biggest trouble here in order for this fixture to be played will be getting the teams to the Stadium – which will be in it’s own micro-climate tucked away under a roofed complex. Dunedin looks set to have a good sized home crowd for an ITM Cup match, as it ushers in a new era of winter rugby immune from the wintry elements. Expect a free flowing open spectacle in perfect conditions as the ravages of winter engulf the outside world.Tweet