Lively finals weekend likely in domestic rugby

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Saturday, October 20, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

The old rivals, Auckland and Canterbury, will go at it on Saturday evening at Eden Park.


Canterbury have been the dominant side in the competition having won nine of the last 10 years of national provincial titles, the only exception being when Taranaki beat Tasman in the 2014 final.

The last time Auckland were in the final was in 2015, a repeat of the 2012 final while the last time Auckland won the title, and hosted the final, was in 2007 when they beat Wellington.

Auckland beat Canterbury, in Christchurch, in roundrobin play earlier in the year and have enjoyed their best domestic season for some time.

Canterbury, having suffered losses to Auckland and Tasman have not been the dominant force of earlier years but showed in beating Tasman 21-16 in their Friday semifinal that they were on task to make a vigorous defence of their title.

Auckland qualified by ending Wellington's run since returning to the Premiership this year with a 38-17 win in Auckland.

In the Championship final, Waikato will host Otago in a repeat of their Ranfurly Shield game of 10 days ago. Otago won on that occasion but only secured their place in the final after the final hooter had surrounded when first five-eighths Josh Ioane landed a penalty goal to deny a Hawke's Bay team that had dominated for much of the game.

Waikato qualified in easier fashion with a 48-26 win over Northland in their semifinal.

The Mitre 10 Heartland competition will also be decided when South Canterbury host Thames Valley in Timaru in the Meads Cup final while the Lochore Cup will be played in Levin where Horowhenua Kapiti will host Wairarapa Bush.

South Canterbury beat King Country 58-21 in their semifinal while Thames Valley upset Wanganui 17-7.

And Wairarapa Bush reversed the previous week's result when beating North Otago 30-21 while Horowhenua Kapiti beat Mid Canterbury 34-24.


Mitre 10 Cup Premiership Final
Auckland v Canterbury
Saturday 27 October
Eden Park, Auckland - kick off 4.05pm (Free Entry)

Mitre 10 Cup Championship Final
Waikato v Otago
Friday 26 October
FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton - kick off 7.35pm

Mitre 10 Heartland Championship – Mead Cup Final
South Canterbury v Thames Valley
Saturday 27 October
Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru - kick off 1.05pm

Mitre 10 Heartland Championship – Lochore Cup Final
Horowhenua Kapiti v Wairarapa Bush
Sunday 28 October
Levin Domain, Levin - kick off 2.35pm