Well… that’s that! The ITM Cup has officially come to a close for another year! In 2013 ALL ITM Cup & Heartland Championship trophies went to Crusader feeder teams – Canterbury won the premiership title, Tasman the championship title, while Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury took out the two trophies in the Heartland Championship. Of the ITM Cup finals one game came down to one solitary point, while the other had a 16 point deficit. Both games were exciting and I think anyone watching would agree that the four teams who deserved to be in the final were in the final.
Want to know what happened? Well here goes…
ITM Cup FINALS review
Tasman 26 v Hawke’s Bay 25
Tries Tasman 3 – Hawke’s Bay 3
What a game. After taking an early lead it looked as if Hawke’s Bay were on their way to a somewhat surprise win. For the first twenty minutes of the match it was one way traffic with Hawke’s Bay dominating in all facets of the game. But then something happened and suddenly Tasman were back and we had a real game on our hands. Tasman scored two tries in quick succession just before half time and had a healthy 23-10 lead when the teams went back into the sheds. In the second half Hawke’s Bay fought back and at 78 minutes the score was 26-20. Chris Eaton scored 30 seconds later and suddenly the scores were 26-25 with the conversion attempt to come, the success of which determining who would take home the championship trophy. Ihaia West missed that conversion and the Tasman team began their celebration. Not only did they win the championship division but they also earnt promotion to the premiership division for next season. Both Marty Banks and Ihaia West had a bit of a hit and miss night with the boot, but in the end it was Marty Banks who won the battle of the #10 jersey.
Player that impressed: Shane Christie. The Tasman captain won important turnovers when it was needed.
Surprise win? Not really.
My prediction? Wrong (Hawke’s Bay 1-12).
Wellington 13 v Canterbury 29
Tries Wellington 1 – Canterbury 4
After all the hype surrounding this game and the many predictions that the 2013 Lions would be the team to FINALLY steal the ITM Cup trophy from Canterbury’s clutches, the game was a bit anti-climactic. It WAS a good game… more so from Canterbury’s side of things than Wellington’s, BUT it was clear that the two teams meant to be in the final were in the final. As with past years, Canterbury stepped their performance up by about 50 notches when it came to the final. I don’t know what it is about that team but when when it matters they make it count. The Canterbury team were dominant on both attack and defense and held Wellington to just one try. Whenever Wellington made an error Canterbury made sure they took advantage of it and scored tries. It was a little sad really that Wellington weren’t able to provide more of a challenge for the Canterbury team. They were the in form team of the competition and only lost one game during the round robin, but they were no match for a hungry Canterbury team.
Player that impressed: Andy Ellis. I think most Kiwis were left scratching their heads after Saturday night’s match, wondering how on earth Andy Ellis is not wearing the black jersey.
Surprise win? Depends which team you were backing…
My prediction? Correct (Canterbury 13+)!
With no predictions to make I guess all that leaves me with are a few statistics to share!
ITM Cup Hundy Club
(players who scored 100+ points in the 2013 season)
170pts – Hayden Parker (Otago) & Marty Banks (Tasman)
169pts – Ihaia West (Hawke’s Bay)
149pts – Lima Sopoaga (Wellington)
127pts – Simon Hickey (Auckland)
120pts – Trent Renata (Waikato)
119pts – Willie Ripia (Bay of Plenty)
117pts – Tyler Bleyendaal (Canterbury)
ITM Cup Top Try Scorers
8 – Milford Keresoma (Canterbury)
7 – Telusa Veainu (Hawke’s Bay), Liam Squire (Tasman)
6 – Lolagi Visinia (Auckland), James Lowe (Tasman), Zac Guildford (Hawke’s Bay)
Team Standings After Round Robin
Wellington – 42
Canterbury – 40
Auckland – 36
Counties Manukau – 28
Waikato – 21
Taranaki – 14
Bay of Plenty – 8
Tasman – 36
Otago – 30
Hawke’s Bay – 29
Southland – 20
Manawatu – 18
Northland – 13
North Harbour – 10
Path to the Final
Wellington v Counties Manukau (41-10)
Canterbury v Auckland (56-26)
Wellington v Canterbury (13-29)
Tasman v Southland (49-28)
Otago v Hawke’s Bay (24-29)
Tasman v Hawke’s Bay (26-25)
And for the final Hotty of the Match….
… rocking the beard like no other!