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Preview: Heartland Championship Round 3

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Friday, September 8, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Wanganui, Horowhenua Kapiti and Buller sit in the top three spots but have all been made to work across the opening two rounds.

Defending champions Wanganui take on bottom of the table Poverty Bay at home and will be looking to increase their lead at the top of the ladder. 

QUICK TAP: WANGANUI GIVEN A FRIGHT BY THAMES VALLEY

Second-placed Horowhenua Kapiti have home advantage but won’t find it easy against a Thames Valley side that pushed Wanganui hard last week.

Buller currently sit in third place in the Heartland Championship and will face a tough challenge from North Otago in Westport. North Otago were impressive in taking out Mid Canterbury 31-25 last week.

South Canterbury will add another chapter into their illustrious rivalry with Mid Canterbury at the Ashburton Showgrounds. The two sides have met 138 times since 1927 with South Canterbury securing 82 victories to Mid Canterbury’s 51. South Canterbury only have to look back to their 14-0 lockout of Mid Canterbury in Timaru last year for inspiration.

It is the ‘battle of the coasts’ in Ruatoria where East Coast and West Coast square off. When they met in Greymouth last year, West Coast came out on top in a 36-30 thriller. East Coast will be hoping they can repay the favour to West Coast at home.

The final match of the round is equally intriguing with King Country and Wairarapa Bush squaring off in Te Kuiti. Whoever wins will leap into the top half of the ladder while the loser will be left near the foot of the table.

THE MATCH-UPS


Buller v North Otago
Saturday 9 September, 2pm at Victoria Square, Westport

East Coast v West Coast
Saturday 9 September, 12pm at Whakarua Park, Ruatoria

Horowhenua Kapiti v Thames Valley
Saturday 9 September, 2pm at Levin Domain

King Country v Wairarapa Bush
Saturday 9 September, 2.30pm at Rugby Park, Te Kuiti

Mid Canterbury v South Canterbury
Saturday 9 September, 2.30pm at Ashburton Showgrounds, Ashburton

Wanganui v Poverty Bay
Saturday 9 September, 2.30pm at Cooks Gardens, Wanganui