ITM Cup round up and preview: Wk 8

Week eight of the ITM Cup did not disappoint and as with most weeks there were some big scorelines and surprising upsets.  Premiership semi finalists were decided (Wellington, Canterbury, Auckland and Counties Manukau) but one championship semi final spot is still up for grabs and the  team to join Tasman,  Hawke’s Bay and Otago in the finals will be decided this weekend.


Week eight review

Marty Banks Waikato v Tasman

Marty Banks Waikato v Tasman

Tasman 64 v Waikato 28

Tries  Tasman 8 – Waikato 4

Tasman showed exactly why they deserve a spot in the premiership in 2014 with a very convincing win over Waikato.  Marty Banks was again a star with the boot, adding 24 points to his personal tally for the year, and that combined with domination at the set piece meant Tasman were just too much for Waikato.

Player that impressed:  Kieron Fonotia.  The Tasman center had an uncanny knack for finding the smallest gap and creating something big.  Displayed great bursts of speed and made many successful offloads

Surprise win?  Not so much a surprise win but the differential was a surprise!

My prediction?  Right team, wrong margin (Tasman 1-12).

Southland 15 v Hawke’s Bay 23

Tries  Southland 2 – Hawke’s Bay 2

Southland took the early lead and looked to be on their way to a much needed win until the lethal Hawke’s Bay backs stepped it up a notch and took the lead after two impressive tries.  Ihaia West’s precision with the boot secured the win for the Magpies.

Player that impressed:  Zac Guildford.  The Magpies winger seemed to have a part in every single play.  He was all over the field and created havoc for the Southland team, and also did his part in securing the win, scoring a try himself and setting up Ihaia Wests try.  I’m not just saying this because I love the man.  He REALLY has had an impressive season  which is great to see.

Surprise win?  Not really.

My prediction?  Right team, wrong margin (Hawke’s Bay 13+).

Manawatu 22 v Northland 16

Tries Manawatu 3 – Northland 2

This game was far more exciting than the previous weeks game in Palmerston North!  The weather was conducive to running rugby and that is what the crowd got!  The game was very close and could have gone either way but toward the end of the game Manawatu went up another gear and did what they needed to record the win and keep their semi final hopes alive.

Player that impressed:  Heiden Bedwell-Curtis.  Scored two of the Manawatu tries and had a good game at the set piece.

Surprise win?  Not really.

My prediction?  Correct (Manawatu 1-12).

North Harbour 23 v Otago 37

tries  North Harbour 2 – Otago 4

Otago never looked like losing and played a very clinical game… they were very strong up front.  Their win against Harbour was enough to get them into the championship semi finals.  Francis Saili did score an impressive solo try (as he usually does) but it wasn’t enough for Harbour.

Player that impressed:  Hayden Parker.  Again the Otago first five was on song with the boot.

Surprise win?  No.

My prediction?  Correct (Otago 13+).

Bay of Plenty 25 v Waikato 28

Tries Bay of Plenty 3 – Waikato 1

Until the very last minute of the game it looked like Bay of Plenty were finally going to add some points to their season tally… but a successful last minute penalty kick  to Waiklato broke the hearts of Bay of Plenty players and fans alike.  This loss essentially ensured Bay of Plenty will be relegated to the championship division for the 2014 ITM Cup.

Player that impressed:  Trent Renata.  Without his effort with the boot Waikato would have lost this game.

Surprise win?  No.

My prediction?  Wrong (Bay of Plenty 1-12).

Wellington 38 v Auckland 16

Tries  Wellington 4 – Auckland 1

Wellington physically dominated an Auckland team who seemed unable to piece anything together.  Wellington owned the set piece and the breakdown and never really gave Auckland a chance to find their feet.

Player that impressed:  Shaun Treeby.  The Wellington second five found all the gaps and made the most of any ball that came his way.  Scored an impressive try after an Ardie Savea offload.

Surprise win?  No.

My prediction?  Correct (Wellington 13+).

Canterbury 38 v Counties Manukau 23

Tries  Canterbury 4 – Counties Manukau 2

Counties Manukau owned the first half, to the point it looked as if there was a big upset on the way for Canterbury.  Canterbury managed to work their way back into the game and eventually surpassed Counties as they tired and seemed to lose their physicality.

Player that impressed:  Johnny McNicholl.  After a devestating injury (broken leg) in the Super XV Johnny had his most impressive game of the season so far.  A great mixture speed and the ability to create something out of nothing meant he made some exciting runs and helped create tries.

Surprise win?  No.

My prediction?  Correct (Canterbury 13+).

Taranaki 20 v Tasman 27

Tries  Taranaki 2 – Tasman 2

Tasman took the lead early on and looked as if they were going to record another big win but Taranaki fought back in the second half  and things became closer… BUT Tasman were still too strong and recorded yet another win, securing a home semi final and what will likely be a final against Hawke’s Bay to determine who gets promoted to the premiership in 2014.

Player who impressed:  Joe Wheeler.  Was strong at lineout time, scored a try and captained the team to a well deserved win.

Surprise win?  Not really.

My prediction?  … I never really made a firm prediction (Taranaki 1-12…. or maybe Tasman 13+.  Or maybe Taranaki 13+… I JUST DON’T KNOW.  Fine.  Taranaki 1-12.  Maybe.).

*special shout out:  to Jarrad Hoeata’s beard!  He was interviewed on the sideline and it was hard to not be impressed (and go a little weak at the knees) by his beard.  After he shaves it off there will be an official national day of mourning.


Week nine predictions

Northland v Otago

Otago should win this easily.  Otago 1-12.

Hawke’s Bay v Wellington

I doubt anyone can tame the (Wellington) Lions this year, so am picking Wellington 13+.  Though I WOULD love a surprise upset!

Counties Manukau v Southland (Ranfurly Shield defense)

Ranfurly Shield games always produce special performances but I can’t see Southland having what it takes to pry the shield from Counties Manukau’s grasp!  Counties 13+.

North Harbour v Canterbury

If Canterbury come even close to losing something is badly wrong.  Canterbury 13+.

Northland v Bay of Plenty

Maybe Bay of Plenty can finally secure their second win of the season?  Na.  Northland 1-12.

Waikato v Taranaki

Should be a good game!!!  Either team could win.  Both have been impressive in the past, both have been unimpressive this year.  I’m picking Taranaki 1-12.

Otago v Auckland

COULLLLLD be a potential upset but I don’t think so…  Auckland 13+.

Tasman v Manawatu

This will either be a battle to the end or Tasman will win by a huge margin…  Hard to not pick Tasman on their recent form!  Tasman 13+.


Now for your weekly dose of statistics..

Top point scorers after round 8 of the ITM Cup


Hayden Parker (Otago)  134 (2/17/30)

Ihaia West (Hawke’s Bay)  120 (4/17/22)

Willie Ripia (Bay of Plenty)  117 (1/11/30)

Lima Sopoaga (Wellington)  116 (1/27/19)

Trent Renata (Waikato)  113 (2/17/23)

Marty Banks (Tasman)  103 (1/16/22)

Simon Hickey (Auckland)  93 (1/16/17)

Baden Kerr (Counties Manukau)  84 (0/14/19)


Leading try scorers after round 8 of the ITM Cup

Milford Keresoma (Canterbury) 8

Telusa Veainu (Hawke’s Bay) 6

James Lowe (Tasman) 6

Lolagi Visinia (Auckland) 5

Adam Whitelock (Canterbury) 5

Frank Halai (Counties Manukau) 5

Liam Squire (Tasman) 5

Joe Hill (Wellington) 5

Ross Filipo (Wellington) 5


and as always the ITM CUP HOTTY OF THE MATCH

this week…

Cory Jane

Cory Jane


*made his return to rugby in this round after missing the entire Super XV and the first 7 rounds of the ITM Cup after injuring his knee during pre season training in January!


Age:  30

Position:  Wing/fullback

Team:  Wellington


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