Counties Manukau v Auckland Live

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Counties Manukau                          Auckland
Saturday 10th October 06:35 GMT

 

Counties-Manukau will be grateful that they have nothing to play for, when they welcome Auckland to the ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe on Saturday. They have flirted with the Premiership relegation zone all season, but having lost four of their first five games, they suddenly found some form that has seen them record three consecutive wins, allowing them to climb to safety with a week to spare of the regular season. While they may have expected to beat Northland away from home, their victory over Tasman, and last week's vital success away to Waikato, were far less predictable.

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The Auckland Seagulls meanwhile, have all to play for. Thanks to Tasman's surprise win against Taranaki earlier in the week, they now lie in third position in the table. However, a win against Counties Manukau, which although far from certain, seems a likely result, given the incentives, or lack of that the teams have, would see them climb to second position, and clinch a home semi-final. Win or lost on Saturday, the Seagulls will play Tasman in the last four, it is just a case of the venue.

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The only real disappointment for the young ambitious Auckland side this season, was their failure to take the Ranfurly Shield off of Hawke's Bay, when they were beaten 17-12 in Napier in Round 7, just the second defeat of 2015 for the Seagulls.

Posted: 8th October 2014

 

The final week of the 2014 ITM Cup regular season, starts with a cracking all Premiership clash at the ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe between two sides who are vying for the fourth and final place in the knockout phase for the Premiership title.

For Counties Manukau, who come into the fixture on the back of successive victories, they require victory to keep their hopes of qualification alive, as they trail their visitors by six points, with both sides having two games remaining.

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Counties have thrashed Wellington, and won away last week in Invercargill against Southland, to keep them in contention for a top four place. Even a try scoring bonus-point win against Auckland will still leave the Steelers needing to beat or at least draw in Blenheim against Tasman to stay in the top four race.

Auckland's own campaign has stuttered to such an extent, that their place in the post-season play-offs has always looked to be in the balance from the opening round when

they were thrashed in Christchurch by Canterbury.

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If Auckland do slip up on Wednesday, their final fixture is scheduled for Eden Park 24 hours before Counties face Tasman, giving them a chance to put the play-off question to bed, and save themselves a nerve jangling wait to see if Tasman can do them a favour by beating the Steelers.


Tags: Auckland, Counties Manukau, ITM Cup, ECOLight Stadium
Posted: 10th October 2015


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