While chances are slim, if we want a shot at hosting a semi final in the first time since, well the old 2nd division, we simply must win this one.
Waikato look all but set to top the table even if they lose to us.
But with HB on 23, us on 21 and Otago on 20 (with a game in hand) it is looking likely these 4 will be in the final 4 in 2 weeks.
My pick is we will play Waikato in Hamilton in 3 weeks, Otago or HB couldy host the other semi, although the way things have gone the past couple of weeks, anything can still happen and mathematically any of the top 4 can still host a semi, without bringing BOP into the equation with thier 3 games to go are also still a shot at sneaking in.
Any news on the injury front? We could do with some good news there, while players are stepping up and filling gaps admirably, we could do with a few of these guys back,.
DRIVE IT WAIKATO!!!
Lineout drives that is! Shield Snorters showed the way.
One thing we’ll want to do is keep you buggers away from the corner.. I’m already visualising a wall of red, yellow and black rumbling over the line!
I guess that all comes down to discipline in our own half. Keep messing up and we’ll be punished.
I’m thinking this will be a cracker though, not willing to make a prediction until I see our team named..
@taniwharugby one thing I will enjoy is both Waikato and Otago bashing the crap out of each other with so much at stake in the last round..what sort of shape will they both be in going into semi final football,very hard to lift after a Shield challenge or defence.
I won't see the game as I have other plans for Sat.
What I'd like to know is why Waikato always seems to be playing Northland in Whangarei in recent years. Things were so much simpler in the days of the NPC where teams alternated home and away.
@Steven-Harris Otago will probably field a B team vs Ta$man but I'll be happy if they don't.
@bovidae same reason we played Auckland up here for the first time in about 10 years...cross over matches and who chooses.
We've had some good matches the past few years though.
Otago might have a shot at a home semi or even finish top so might need points.
@bovidae thats this season the only non-crossover; so with you dropping do you simply take the place of the team that went up? We played Wellington away last year so you replaced them, play us at home?
I doubt it is that simple though haha
I rate our chances at home. Some key things need to come together.
The win on Sunday was great (winners are grinners):
- away from home
- at the end of 3 game week
- missing a few players
- against a very physical pack and some speedy backs so D was better
- lineout D was better bar one lineout.
- Exits were good but will now miss Gregory’s kicking if he is not available
- structure, game plan was good with a great worked move try
- some strong running into contact zones
So we need all that plus:
- accuracy at clean outs, which is partly keeping work rate high ( we have improved heaps aleady )
- better finishing, we created space a few times and then didn’t make the pass at the right time. At the same time a few passes were knocked down by tackler but that happens.
- to control the last 20 better. We still have long periods without the ball and with tiring legs the game opens up esp. if you give ball back. Maybe reduce offloads in this period. You don’t have Increase the risks you take, just keep grinding and points will come. We did this quite well to earn our last penalty.
So pleased for this team. Showed that they do have the ability plus a good squad culture with everyone contributing.
@kev see I reckon if we had beaten HB, we would have lost to Counties (although for our finals aspirations, beating HB was best)
The sheer desperation we showed in that final quarter v Counties, I'm not sure it woulda been there had we picked up 5 v HB.
And when you think about how that game panned out, I reckon we lose that game more times than we win it; on another day, that knock over the line is a try, other bounces dont fall our way, but on Sunday, in spite of our injuries, in spite of our boys being out on thier feet we held on, as it really was crucial to our top 4 chances; huge ticker shown.
Apparently team will look like this:
Tu'Ungafasi, Moulds, Rinakama
Robinson, Matich, Pryor
Roberts-Te Nana, Wright, Hyland
Reserves - Olsen, Atkins, Wiggins, Stokes, Matiu, Nock, Thoroughgood, Tua
So potential debut for Wiggins then Robinson, Matich, Nock and Tua all back form injury.
Regan Verney, Jone Macilai, Ross Wright, Jack Straker, Scott Gregory, Kane Jacobson
From what I have heard, Gregory & Straker possibly back next week, Jacobsen suffering concussion symptoms still, Wrights status unknown, which means he probably wont be back?
Your team was right @taniwharugby apart from Thoroughgood being at 15 and Cooper on the bench. Will be interesting to see how Thoroughgood goes. To me seems to struggle with the speed and physicality of Mitre 10 Cup so far. Would've been interesting to see if they would've played Gregory at 15 if he had been fit. Good to have Robinson and Matich back.
Think we will go well this weekend - picking a win