The Battle for Promotion in the Mitre 10 Cup

The Battle for Promotion in the Mitre 10 Cup

The battle for promotion to the Premiership division of the Mitre 10 Cup kicks off this weekend with Waikato hosting Northland and Otago hosting Hawke's Bay.


Here are two sets of semi-finals: 



The Favourites - Waikato 


Jono Gibbes side are likely to bounce back following their relegation last year but have a tough task ahead in hosting the Northland Taniwha.



The hosts form in the last two months has been exceptional and has seen them win six games on the trot but this run of form did come to an abrupt end last week as they went down to Otago 19-23 in a Ranfurly shield tie.



Waikato have had to bounce back from disappointing defeats before this season as they struggled during the early phases of the tournament and only managed to pick up their first win in Round 4.



The Dark Horse - Northland


With attacking weapons like Rene Ranger, Jack Debreczeni and Jordan Hyland at their disposal Northland can't be underestimated by the favourites this weekend.


The away side managed to book a semi-final berth despite going down to Bay of Plenty 38-35 this past weekend. Northland have been pretty inconsistent lately as they have lost three of their last four fixtures but can turn up and cause a massive upset on their day - just ask Taranaki and Manawatu supporters. 


The Taniwha will also be keen to avenge a 28-71 drubbing at the hands of Waikato.



The Contenders - Otago


Having claimed the Ranfurly Shield off rivals Waikato last weekend, Otago should go into this semi-final with high spirits. The hosts have been in pretty decent form lately as they have won three of their last four fixtures in the competition but they will be wary of Hawke’s Bay, who beat them in Round 2 of the competition.


Otago was undone by the other Bay, Bay of Plenty, in the semifinals last season and will not want to suffer the same fate this year.


The Wildcard - Hawke’s Bay


The Bay had a bright start to their season and will be annoyed with themselves that they did not secure a home semi-final.


They started the campaign with three wins from their opening four games but then could only win two of their remaining six fixtures in the tournament. They will be confident that they can get a result against Otago but know it won't be easy having to do it away from home. 


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