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The Air NZ Cup NPC Week Seven

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Contributor:
Scott Newman
Scott Newman

We are now over halfway through the NPC competition. You cannot tell from here who is playing the best rugby and could win everything. It has been a very tight competition for the most part. Upsets galore. The Super rugby unions have had to work harder to win in the competition. The Shield rests with Canterbury in another defence this weekend. The All Blacks have a chance to sweep the Bledisloe series with a game in Wellington against the Wallabies Saturday night.

Northland vs. Counties Manukau – Counties Manukau won 37 - 21

Northland got taken advantage of for making too many mistakes in a well deserved Counties win. Plenty of tries through opportunities of failing to attack confidently via Northlands loose play. This was a game that Northland should have won at home but it was good to see Counties who came to play hard. Northland face the upset Turbos & Counties Manuaku will play the top of the table Stags.
 
Player of the game – Tasesa Lavea (Counties Manukau) had Northland on the back foot all night.
 
Taranaki vs. Wellington – Taranaki won 29 – 16
 
Taranaki have broken a 20 year hoodoo with the Wellington Lions beating them in a relatively closely fought game. The ‘naki showed passion to beat the Lion forward and dominate in parts of the game. Taranaki would be proud of this effort and valuable competition points. Wellington only has themselves to blame for the recent slump in form after losing the shield they seem flat without their All Blacks. Welly has a chance to bounce back against the stumbling Mooloo. Taranaki play for the Ranfurly shield down south. (The best chance to win a shield without DC, RM. KR & BT!)
 
Player of the game – Jack Cameron (Taranaki) this guy has had a good couple of weeks.
 
Tasman vs. Waikato – Tasman won 23 - 9
 
Tasman has been able to mount a comfortable amount of pressure on teams weekly and is welcoming points as reward for their efforts. The latest victim, Waikato is having a torrid season. The Mako’s are enjoying giving the ball airtime and are playing entertaining, enterprising, running rugby. Waikato needs to get their game back together. The Mooloo do battle with Wellington. Tasman will play the top of the table Bay team which promises to be a good game.
 
Player of the game – Afelike Pelenise (Tasman) rewarded for supporting the ball carrier.
 
Southland vs. Bay of Plenty – Southland won 19 - 12
 
Southland has continued to impress in the competition as a top team when they narrowly beat the top of table Bay of Plenty game in a great showdown. You would have to say that Southland were lucky to have home advantage to take them home. Again, having Robbie Robinson at the helm made a huge difference for the Stags. The Steamers will bounce back that is for sure they play Tasman this week. Southland plays the creative Counties Manukau team in a point’s fiesta.
 
Player of the game – Robbie Robinson (Southland) this guy is all class.
 
North Harbour vs. Hawke’s Bay – Hawke’s Bay won 17 - 34
 
Hawke’s Bay played a very confident comfortable game against Harbour. Withstanding some pressure but capitalising on any of Harbours loose plays. The Try at the end of the game was a funny way to say to Harbour to sort it out as it was a hilarious ending. Hawke’s Bay looks like they can build on this bonus try victory. They will play the dangerous Otago team next. North Harbour plays Auckland next in the battle of the bridge.
 
Player of the game – Zac Guildford (Hawke’s Bay) controlled Harbour with 2 great tries!
 
Canterbury vs. Otago – Canterbury won Ranfurly Shield 36 - 16
 
The Shield stays safely on Canterbury’s mantelpiece (for now) as they play three home games in a row to defend the log o’ wood. It never looked like leaving their grasp as everything went right with the bounce of the pall for the red and blacks. Otago continue their unlucky challenges for the shield. They must get full marks for trying though. (Or maybe lack of?) Otago play Hawke’s Bay next. Canterbury attempt to win the shield with Taranaki in the house.
 
Player of the game – Stephen Brett (Canterbury) ruined the night for Otago big time.
 
Auckland vs. Manawatu – Auckland won 23 - 20
 
Was there a hand in the ruck at the end of the game that led to the game winning try at full time when Auckland came back and won? (Or was it just my eyes?) An Aaron Cruden less Turbos played as hard as they could in the last 10 minutes to steal a well earned win (could have been first since 1981) but somehow Auckland won. Nah, they did enough to upset Manawatu’s ball. I am still grumpy the blue and whites stole the game! Auckland plays Harbour in the battle of the bridge. Manawatu round off the weekend against Northland who are struggling a bit.
 
Player of the game – Johnny Leota (Manawatu) for a losing cause showed a great effort.
 
2009 Air New Zealand Cup Standings
Team
Played
Win
Draw
Loss
For
Against
BP1
BP2
Points 
Canterbury
7
5
0
2
201
121
2
2
24
Southland
7
5
1
1
141
108
1
1
24
Bay of Plenty
7
5
0
2
149
121
0
1
21
Tasman
7
4
0
3
183
128
2
2
20
Auckland
7
4
0
3
150
150
2
2
20
Taranaki
7
4
1
2
140
134
0
0
18
Wellington
7
4
0
3
169
152
1
1
18
Hawke's Bay
7
3
1
3
177
149
2
0
16
Manawatu
7
3
0
4
147
165
1
2
15
Otago
7
2
0
5
142
142
2
4
14
Waikato
7
3
0
4
134
169
1
0
13
Counties Manukau
7
2
0
5
152
253
2
1
11
Northland
7
2
1
4
125
171
0
1
11
North Harbour
7
1
0
6
121
168
0
4
8
 
This Week:
 
Thursday 17th Sep, 7:35pm – Counties Manukau vs. Southland
Thursday 17th Sep, 7:35pm – Bay of Plenty vs. Tasman
Friday 18th Sep, 7:35pm – Waikato vs. Wellington
Friday 18th Sep, 7:35pm – Canterbury vs. Taranaki (Ranfurly Shield)
Saturday 19th Sep, 2:35pm – Auckland vs. North Harbour
Saturday 19th Sep, 4:35pm – Hawke’s Bay vs. Otago
Saturday 19th Sep, 7:35pm – ALL BLACKS vs. WALLABIES
Sunday 20th Sep, 2:35pm – Manawatu vs. Northland

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