Manawatu v Canterbury Live

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Manawatu                          Canterbury
Saturday 17th September 04:35 GMT


It is Manawatu's turn on Saturday to try and stop the Canterbury juggernaut, as it rolls into the FMG Stadium in Palmerston North, for a crossover 2016 ITM Cup fixture. The defending Champions have been in unstoppable form in 2016, having played and won all four of their fixtures, claiming a try scoring bonus point in each of these outings. The 20 points that they have gathered, puts them four points ahead of their nearest rivals Auckland, who have played a game more. Canterbury have averaged nearly seven tries per match, while their own line has been crossed a mere six times to date.

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While Manawatu will hope to be the first side to lower Canterbury's colours this season, it seems unlikely that a side that is third in the Championship Division with two wins and two defeats, will be able to combat the best attack and best defence in the tournament. Manawatu are embroiled in a four way fight for three play-off places (Otago look certain to claim top spot), as they seek to regain their top flight status, after a disastrous relegation campaign in 2015. They have a two point advantage over the Bay of Plenty and North harbour, while they trail the Wellington Lions by two points.

Posted: 3rd September 2015


Although Canterbury, who will be making their first visit to Manawatu since 2010 on Thursday, in Round 4 of the 2015 ITM Cup, will be clear favourites, the result is likely to be a lot closer than the last time the teams met, which was in 2013 in Christchurch, when the home side won by 72-7. The fixture on Thursday at the FMG Stadium, Palmerston North, will be the Turbos second home showing of the season, the previous appearance ending in a 21-28 defeat against Waikato.

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Last season's ITM Championship winners have been competitive for most of the first three rounds of the tournament, but have to register a win, and find themselves at the foot of the Premiership table. While Canterbury have not been quite the irresistible force of recent seasons during the early rounds, perhaps worryingly for all their rivals, they have continued to win matches. Three out of three so far, has seen them into second place in the table with 14 points, just one behind leaders Tasma. It will be Canterbury's third away match of the campaign on Thursday, the previous fixtures resulting in wins at Otago, and more impressively last week against Auckland at Eden Park, when they had to survive the last 10 minutes defending their line desperately against their greatest rivals.

Tags: FMG Stadium, ITM Cup, Canterbury, Manawatu
Posted: 17th September 2016

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