Mitre 10 Cup Review: Week Eight

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Sunday, October 8, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

In the Premiership, Ranfurly Shield holder Taranaki, who beat Canterbury 55-43 in one of the great Shield challenges, and defending champion Canterbury are tied at the top of the table on 36 points with North Harbour and Tasman clear holders of third and fourth place.


However, Taranaki have their double schedule of games to get through which if they were successful in both could see them qualify in first place.

They defend the shield against Manawatu on Wednesday and then play North Harbour in Albany on Sunday afternoon.

North Harbour made life difficult for Waikato when claiming a 13-11 win in Hamilton. While lifting North Harbour to third, it left Waikato needing to beat Bay of Plenty at Tauranga on Saturday to decide the relegation race.

Auckland, who lost to Tasman 18-31 on Sunday, play host to Canterbury on Friday and will need a win to send Waikato to relegation even before they meet Bay of Plenty. However, if Auckland can't win the pressure goes on Waikato.

Counties Manukau are eight points behind fourth-placed Tasman after their 29-24 win over Manawatu and fifth place is the best they can hope for when playing Tasman on Saturday.

In the Championship, Wellington, who thrashed Southland 61-12 are clear front runners when they face what will be an interesting contest with second-placed Northland. The Northland side beat Hawke's Bay 34-7.

Just who will reach the top four with Wellington will depend on Manawatu who face two games, Taranaki on Wednesday and Hawke's Bay on Sunday. Manawatu warmed up for their tough week with a 29-24 loss to Counties Manukau.

Bay of Plenty will have plenty to play for when meeting Waikato because their own hopes of making the top four could depend on a win.

Otago are sitting in fifth place, after their 28-36 loss to Bay of Plenty in Dunedin but only four points separate second from fifth.