Taranaki v Auckland Live

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Taranaki                          Auckland
Thursday 13th October 06:35 GMT


The Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth will host an intriguing fixture in the final round of the regular season of the ITM Cup on Thursday, with the Taranaki Bulls hosting the Auckland Gulls in what is almost a winner take all fixture. For both sides, Thursday's fixture will be their last outing of the regular season, and both sides are looking for the victory that will propel them into the post-season knockout phase of the tournament, and the chance to play or the title, currently held by Canterbury. The Bull occupy second place going into Round 9, and know that a win will secure them second position in the table, and with it the reward of a home semi-final.

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Defeat for Auckland, who sit in fourth place, with just a single point advantage over the Tasman Makos, who have a game in and, would almost certainly see the Gulls, who have more National Provincial titles to their name than any other side, eliminated. Victory for Auckland would see them clinch a top four place, as long as they can also deny the Bulls a bonus point, as they would then finish level on points with Thursday's opponents, but have the advantage of having won the head to head fixture.

Posted: 18th October 2014


Taranaki looked as if they had let slip the opportunity to finish at the head of the ITM Cup Premiership table, when they they let slip a 23-9 lead against Canterbury last Sunday.However, later in the day, their rivals for top spot, Tasman, slipped up against Counties, leaving Taranaki with a home semi-final against Auckland at the Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth on Saturday.

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Auckland own qualification was uncertain until the final round of matches. A hard fought match against Northland at Eden Park, was eventually secured with three tries in 10 second half minutes, and the 38-10 win secured fourth spot on the table.When the sides met in the regular season, they produced an epic encounter. Three first half tries had put Taranaki in control, but Auckland dominated the second 40 minutes, and with the evenly poised, Marty McKenzie looked to have won the game for Taranaki when he slotted a drop-goal with his weaker left foot. An interception try after the final siren made the score look more comprehensive than it really was.Auckland will be without Charlie Faumuina and Steven Luatua, who are so influential on the Auckland set-piece, as both players will be on All Blacks duty.

Posted: 26th September 2014 2014


With three weeks of the regular season left in the 2014 ITM Cup tournament, almost every fixture takes on added importance as the outcome has a bearing on play-off qualification, or relegation issues. On Friday at the Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth, Taranaki who are currently in second place in the Premiership table face the fourth place Auckland side. A victory on Friday with the hosts, will assure them of a place in the semi-finals. Although the battle for a top two position, and home advantage in the knockout stage will continue, irrespective of the outcome. Auckland are the favourites to qualify for the last four, as they hold a five point advantage over fifth place Waikato, and have a game in hand over their rivals. However, losing on Friday, might just set a few alarm bells ringing at Eden Park, and give Waikato a lift to improve their own performances, especially as they host lowly Counties later in the week.

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They have only been beaten once in the ITM Cup this season, but Auckland's performances have been far from convincing, and a fourth place finish is likely to set up a trip to Christchurch to play Canterbury. A repeat of the fixture in Week 1, which the Red and Blacks won 48-9.

Tags: Yarrow Stadium, ITM Cup, Taranaki, Auckland, Eden Park, Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua
Posted: 13th October 2016

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