Mitre 10 Cup Review: Week Nine

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Sunday, October 14, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Semifinals in the competition next week are:


Tasman v Canterbury, 7.35pm, Friday, Trafalgar Park, Nelson

Auckland v Wellington, 5.05pm, Saturday, Eden Park, Auckland


Waikato v Northland 2.35pm, Saturday, FMG Stadium, Hamilton

Otago v Hawke's Bay, 7.35pm, Saturday, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin


Details from Round Nine of the competition were:

Southland 8 Auckland 56
Southland's record against Auckland is not pretty, they've only won eight times in 55 games, and it was always going to be difficult to break their two-season losing duck at home. Auckland opted to give their lesser lights a run and while they took time to adjust to Southland's defensive efforts in the first half, they turned it on to run in 44 second-half points to five in the second half.

Tasman 29 Hawke's Bay 0
There were home semifinals on the line for both sides in this contest, but as it turned out it was Tasman who did best, holding Hawke's Bay scoreless, to claim a solid win in wet conditions in Nelson, and then Otago beat Waikato to deny the Bay a home semi, now having to trek south to Dunedin.

Taranaki 10 Wellington 34
Taranaki's unfortunate season reached its almost inevitable conclusion on a windy Friday night in New Plymouth with Wellington playing a superb game of control in the first half playing into the wind. It wasn't the prettiest game with more niggle than necessary, and while Taranaki got within an ace at halftime, it was all Wellington who didn't concede a second half point in claiming a solid win.

Bay of Plenty 38 Northland 35
Making a strong finish to a mixed season, Bay of Plenty turned it on during the first half against Northland, getting out to a 26-7 lead in the first half and then up 38-21 three minutes from the end of the game. But Northland, with their playoffs position wrapped up came home with a wet sail and got within three points to collect two bonus points to solidify their fourth position, with Bay of Plenty three points back in fifth.

Waikato 19 Otago 23
Ranfurly Shield magic never dies and can lift unlikely challengers to commanding heights and so it proved for Otago who made the requisite strong start for potential Shield winners by getting out to a 17-0 lead and then held out the Shield defenders who made a strong bid to retain the trophy. But with both sides pushing in the final quarter, it was Otago who held together best to claim the win.

Counties Manukau 14 Canterbury 19
It's been a frustrating year for Counties Manukau, especially in the Premiership games, but with tighthead prop Nepo Laulala providing some scrum solidity up front, the home team were competitive at Pukekohe with returning All Blacks loosehead Joe Moody getting a real workout. With backs Nigel Ah Wong and Sione Molia scoring Counties Manukau got out to a 14-7 lead. But a penalty try proved helpful for Canterbury who edged in front in the 45th minute and they were able to contain the enthusiastic home side to secure the win.

Auckland 45 North Harbour 29

With the season already gone, as a result of Wellington's win over Taranaki, it would have been easy for North Harbour to fade early, but they took it to Auckland and but for some missed opportunities might have been well up on the scoreboard. Auckland had their own motivations, not least reversing last season's loss to their neighbours and with Akira Ioane in top form they made the most of a strong third quarter surge.

Manawatu 38 Southland 26
Manawatu made the most of having three All Blacks in their line-up as they contributed three tries, two of them to Ngani Laumape and the third to Jackson Hemopo to achieve a win but Southland, for all the problems they have suffered this year, produced some fine tries in what was an entertaining encounter to end the round robin phase of the competition.