Mitre 10 Cup Review: Week Five

Sunday, September 17, 2017    Lynn McConnell    

This loss came after Canterbury had earlier in the week beaten Counties Manukau 78-5. It didn't knock Canterbury off the lead in the Premiership but it did show that no side can be immune from the tough double game requirement all teams have to face at some stage of the competition.


North Harbour, with another win over a Championship side, elevated themselves to second place in the Premiership, now only three points behind Canterbury but with some heavy timber to come, including Canterbury on Saturday. But it was another thrilling contest in Whangarei before North Harbour secured a 31-22 win over Northland.

Auckland got a necessary win when beating Southland 27-17 in Invercargill, but it was a tough contest with the home side looking for their first win and bouncing back from their Christchurch humiliation with some determined play that pushed the northerners all the way.

Taranaki showed why they are in third place in the Premiership with their 29-7 win over Bay of Plenty, an effort which ultimately demonstrated the differences between the two divisions, where chances are better taken by the higher-ranked side.

Manawatu are perpetual road bump merchants, just ask Canterbury sides through the years, and they unleashed their tricks on Waikato in Hamilton to take a 23-10 win.

Tasman showed their mettle when reduced to 14-men and having to cope with a fast-finishing Otago side in Dunedin before claiming a 29-27 win. That was enough to lift Tasman to fourth in the Premiership while Otago slipped back to third in the Championship behind Northland.

Counties Manukau got an overdue win when beating Hawke's Bay 33-14 but it still wasn't enough to lift them off the bottom of the Premiership as they sit one point behind Auckland.

Counties Manukau face a key game when travelling to Tauranga to play Bay of Plenty on Sunday. They will be playing a Bay side which hosts Southland on Wednesday in Rotorua. Meanwhile, Auckland are in Dunedin to play Otago on Thursday, and the respective results may have a key impact on their final positions in the competition.

In the individual points scoring, Wellington's win over Canterbury saw Jackson Garden-Bachop reach 74 points, four ahead of Canterbury's first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga while Otago's Fletcher Smith has 68 with North Harbour's Bryn Gatland on 67 points.

The leading try scorer remains Braydon Ennor, who didn't play in Canterbury's loss to Wellington, on seven tries while Waikato's Jordan Manihere and North Harbour's Tevita Li are on six and sharing five tries are Wellington's Malo Tuitama and Cantabrians George Bridge and Tim Bateman.