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Mitre 10 Cup Review: Week Four

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Sunday, September 9, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

But the big news of the weekend was Waikato's triumphant double to take a win over Wellington before lifting the Ranfurly Shield from Taranaki in a dominating display in New Plymouth on Sunday afternoon.

Waikato 43 Wellington 31

Shaking off what had been a dire start to their season with two losses, Waikato showed Wellington they meant business with a powerful showing up front, some in-your-face defence and speed on the flanks with Sevu Reece scoring the first hat-trick of the weekend. It's a fine line in the competition for sides who have to play three times in a week, and Wellington opted to rest players, something Waikato cashed in on as a dress rehearsal for their Ranfurly Shield challenge.

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Canterbury 34 Manawatu 23
Canterbury would not have needed any reminding of the fact that games with Manawatu have been a banana skin game for them in recent times. For all the fire and brimstone that Manawatu dished out, it was the conservative lineout maul that did the damage in the first half for Canterbury before their backs cut loose in the second half to secure a comfortable win.

Otago 27 Northland 23


Up 17-7 early in the second half Northland must have felt they had the chance of a win in Dunedin, but the home team resolve overcame the Northland defence. Jona Nareki and Joketani Koroi did the damage for Otago by touching down for tries that built on the goal-kicking of Josh Ioane to claim the win. That gave Otago second place in the Championship while Northland stayed in touch with the playoffs positions by virtue of their bonus point.

Auckland 36 Tasman 10

Lock Patrick Tuipulotu's first half hat-trick of tries gave Auckland a vital lead which resulted in Tasman being placed under some rare pressure in the Premiership clash of the unbeaten sides at Eden Park, and they didn't handle it too well. But Auckland showed some welcome unity and ability to take their chances to breathe some hope back into the hearts of diehard fans who have stood by them.
Southland 26 Counties Manukau 43
Try as Southland might they can't buy a favour in the Championship. Up by 14-0, they saw Counties Manukau turn on the magic with some lovely tries to secure a lead that never looked like being challenged at halftime. There is a capacity to score points, and to defend, but when things go wrong at the moment for Southland they compound very quickly and a team as dangerous as Counties Manukau on the break was never going to make it any easier for the home side.

Hawke's Bay 29 Bay of Plenty 28
It was halfback heaven in Napier as respective halfbacks Brad Weber and Richard Judd scored two tries apiece in what was a thrilling contest, decided in the 78th minute with a home town try for replacement prop Joe Apikatoa. More importantly, the win has put Hawke's Bay clear in the Championship and looking forward to a top of the table contest with Waikato in Week Five.

Wellington 35 North Harbour 23

Wellington needed to get back in the winners' circle and while it took them 70 minutes to achieve that there could be no doubt they were deserving winners over North Harbour. The visitors' squandered too many chances and failed to secure ball from their own lineout especially and paid the price. It doesn't get any easier this week either when they host Canterbury and Bay of Plenty.



Taranaki 19 Waikato 33
It may have been a tough few days for Waikato but the rewards will outweigh any pain with consecutive wins over Premiership sides Wellington and Taranaki and a Ranfurly Shield to savour. But they can't celebrate too long as they face their first challenge from Hawke's Bay on Thursday. But a second place in the Championship has ensured them of a competitive chance of securing a home playoffs berth.