Round 7 of the Mitre 10 Cup gets underway this weekend with the pick of the match-ups taking the form of Hawke’s Bay vs Manawatu with the Ranfurly Shield up for grabs. Hawke’s Bay claimed the shield in Round 4 from Otago and since then have fought off Northland to retain it.
Interestingly, the manner in which Hawke’s Bay got their hands on the “Log o’ Wood” was an exact repetition of history as, in 2013, the Bay took it off Otago after just one week of the latter’s reign. Now, with Manawatu at the gate, Hawke’s Bay have to muster their troops and prepare for a solid battle to keep the prized piece in their possession.
After last week, they will be confident of doing so as they managed to down Northland 33-17. The Bay came alive in the second stanza and dotted down four times to put the game out of reach of their opponents.
STAT CHAT: Manawatu have lost their last seven Mitre 10 Cup games heading into this fixture; the last time they lost more was an eight-game stretch in 2009 which included a 35-30 loss to Hawkes Bay.
Manawatu, meanwhile, suffered at the hands of Bay Of Plenty, going down 53-35 at Central Energy Trust Arena. The writing was on the wall in the first half already as the score read 35-21. While both teams added a decent number of points in the second half, Bay Of Plenty never relaxed their grip on the game.
The Ranfurly Shield always lends any game some extra edge and fans can expect the best of both teams to blossom on Saturday in their pursuit of the “Log o’ Wood”.
1: Pouri Rakete-Stones 2: Ash Dixon 3: Joe Apikotoa 4: Geoff Cridge 5: Tom Parsons, 6: Marino Mikaele-Tu’u 7: Brendon O’Connor 8: Devan Flanders 9: Folau Fakatava 10: Lincoln McClutchie 11: Jonah Lowe 12: Danny Toala 13: Stacey Ili 14: Lolagi Visinia 15: Caleb Makene
Reserves: Kianu Kereru-Symes, Jason Long, Joel Hintz, Isaia Walker-Leaware, Gareth Evans, Connor McLeod, Jonah Lowe, Kurt Baker
1: Solomona Sakalia 2: Sam Stewart 3: Michael Alaalatoa 4: Micaiah Torrance-Read 5: Liam Mitchell 6: Howden Te Kamaka 7: Shamus Hurley-Langton 8: Kirk Tufuga 9: Jamie Booth 10: Ben Wyness 11: Te Rangatira Waitokia 12: James Tofa 13: Josiah Maraku 14: Nigel Ah Wong 15: Nehe Milner-Skudder
Reserves: Siua Maile, Tietie Tuimauga, Paulo Leleisiuao, Teofilo Paulo, Johnny Galloway, Bryn Wilson, Drew Wild, Adam Boult