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ITM Cup 2014 Round 9 – Permutations and the Contenders

fbcv_newITM Cup 2014 Round 9
A look at the permutations and the contenders for semifinals

The stats team and number crunchers have been working on how the results from this last round, starting tonight, could affect final seedings for deciding the ITM Cup 2014 semifinal match-ups.

Three semifinalists have been confirmed for both the Championship and Premiership, but who finishes where and who plays whom is still very much up for grabs – especially in the Championship where four teams are in the hunt for the last playoff spot. We haven’t tried to work out every scenario here – there are just too many that could still happen!

Here’s a simple Cheer Guide, so you know what results your team needs to get in this round.

Auckland
Playing: Counties Manukau (Wednesday) and Northland (Saturday)
Current position: Fourth (Premiership)
Auckland and Counties Manukau are battling it out for the fourth playoff spot and the Aucks have the chance to finish in third if results go their way. An Auckland win will see Counties miss out – but a loss could see the pressure come on.
Best case: Third
Worst case: Fifth
Who to cheer for: Auckland and Tasman.

Bay of Plenty
Playing: Waikato
Current position: Seventh (Championship)
A win for the Steamers would be a great way to end the season, and there’s a mathematical chance of a playoff match if they secure a bonus point win and Southland, North Harbour and Otago results go their way.
Best case: Fourth
Worst case: Seventh
Who to cheer for: Bay of Plenty, Manawatu, Wellington and Hawke’s Bay.

Canterbury
Playing: Taranaki
Current position: Third (Premiership)
The defending champs are taking on table-topping Taranaki and while they’re safe in the playoffs and can’t secure home advantage, will want to get their season back on track. A loss and they’re at risk of being overtaken by Auckland, while a tie on points will see the red and blacks go ahead because of their first round win.
Best case: Third
Worst case: Fourth
Who to cheer for: Canterbury, Counties Manukau and Northland.

Counties Manukau
Playing: Auckland (Wednesday) and Tasman (Sunday)
Current position: Fifth (Premiership)
Counties Manukau are six points behind Auckland but the right results could give them a chance at the fourth playoff spot. A loss and a Waikato win could see them drop down the ladder.
Best case: Fourth
Worst case: Sixth
Who to cheer for: Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty and Northland.

Hawke’s Bay
Playing: Southland
Current position: Second (Championship)
Hawke’s Bay are safe in the semis, but this weekend’s match will have a bearing on who plays who and where in the Championship – not to mention where the Ranfurly Shield spends its summer!
Best case: First
Worst case: Third
Who to cheer for: Hawke’s Bay, Otago and Auckland.

Manawatu
Playing: Otago
Current position: First (Championship)
The Turbos have a home semifinal secured but won’t know who they’re playing until Saturday night and a loss could make them vulnerable to being overtaken at the top of the table by rivals Hawke’s Bay. A tie with Northland will keep Manawatu ahead.
Best case: First
Worst case: Second
Who to cheer for: Manawatu and Southland.

North Harbour
Playing: Wellington
Current position: Fifth (Championship)
North Harbour are in the hunt for the fourth playoff spot in the Championship. They’ll need to earn one more competition point than Southland to overtake the Stags and for Otago and Bay of Plenty to lose their matches.
Best case: Fourth
Worst case: Seventh
Who to cheer for: North Harbour, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu and Waikato.

Northland
Playing: Auckland
Current position: Third (Championship)
The Taniwha are safe in the semis regardless of results. They can’t overtake Manawatu at the top but the Shield changing hands could mean they’re playing for home advantage on Saturday night – if tied with Hawke’s Bay on points, Northland will go ahead.
Best case: Second
Worst case: Fourth
Who to cheer for: Northland and Southland.

Otago
Playing: Manawatu
Current position: Sixth (Championship)
Otago could take the fourth playoff spot if they win and the Southland and North Harbour results go the right way for them. A loss and a Bay of Plenty win could see them end up with the wooden spoon.
Best case: Fourth
Worst case: Seventh
Who to cheer for: Otago, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Waikato.

Southland
Playing: Hawke’s Bay
Current position: Fourth (Championship)
The Stags could lock the Ranfurly Shield in the cabinet and secure a playoff spot if they win in the Bay. A loss and they will be vulnerable to being overtaken by any of the teams below them and ending up in last place, especially if they don’t get a bonus point.
Best case: Fourth
Worst case: Seventh
Who to cheer for: Southland, Wellington, Manawatu and Waikato.

Taranaki
Playing: Canterbury
Current position: First (Premiership)
Taranaki have a home semifinal locked away but when and against who remains to be seen. A loss could see them overtaken at the top of the table by Tasman and facing a resurgent Canterbury again next weekend.
Best case: First
Worst case: Second
Who to cheer for: Taranaki and Counties Manukau.

Tasman
Playing: Counties Manukau
Current position: Second (Premiership)
The Makos have also locked in home advantage and could go to the top of the table if they secure one more point than Taranaki, so they’ll be hoping Canterbury get the win. Auckland and Counties Manukau’s results could determine their semifinal opponent.
Best case: First
Worst case: Second
Who to cheer for: Tasman and Canterbury.

Waikato
Playing: Bay of Plenty
Current position: Sixth (Premiership)
The playoffs are out of reach and they’re safe from relegation regardless of results but a win over neighbours Bay of Plenty will be a great way for the Mooloo men to end the season. They could climb up the ladder with the right combination of results.
Best case: Fifth
Worst case: Sixth
Who to cheer for: Waikato, Auckland and Tasman.

Wellington
Playing: North Harbour
Current position: Seventh (Premiership)
It’ll be the Lions’ last match as a Premiership team until 2016 at the earliest so they’ll want to get a win and finish their season on a strong note.
Best case: Seventh
Worst case: Seventh
Who to cheer for: Wellington.

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