Mid Canterbury’s self implosion last week has opened up the top of the table with neighbours South Canterbury taking advantage and top spot on the table as we enter the final round of the 2015 Heartland Championship and the final chance for teams to secure those all important Meads Cup Semi Final positions.
South Canterbury , Mid Canterbury and Wanganui have secured three of the four places available but the question remains who will get hometown advantage as the top two sides get to host Semi Final #1 and #2 , and who will snare the final 4th spot ? .
To add to the drama though for the final round we also watch with interest to who will make the Lochore Cup Semi finals for teams finishing 5th through 8th. Those finishing 5th and 6th get to host the Semi Finals for the Lochore Cup and the lineup is far from set here.
With Wairarapa-Bush (still in Meads cup contention) , Horowhenua-Kapiti (still in Meads cup contention) , North Otago (still in Meads cup contention – just) , King Country , Buller , West Coast and even Thames Valley all have the ability depending on results to be at the business end of the competition.
Wairarapa-Bush vs Wanganui is our main match of the Round though , after 115 years , these two sides first met in 1890 (as Wairarapa ) and 1897 ( as Bush ) where they played 50 a total of 50 games as individual unions then since Bush and Wairarapa merged in 1971 they have since met 40 times. 90 matches over 115 years and we Wanganui lead with an average score of only 15.60 vs 14.13 and this weekend a Meads Cup Semi Final on offer a huge match is expected. Wanganui will be looking for a record equaling 7th straight victory over the boys from the Bush and the possibility Home Semi Final , while Wairarapa-Bush will be hoping for a victory to get them into Meads Cup contention. Though a lose would not be the end all for them , as a consolation for them would be a Home Semi Final in the Lochore Cup , albeit though the Meads cup is where they do want to be.
The only certainty is that Poverty Bay and East Coast will end the season out of contention , but Poverty Bay will be hoping to upset the apple cart by ending their 125 years celebrations with a home victory over leaders South Canterbury and a loss by Thames Valley to West Coast could see them finish 1oth for 2015.
East Coast on the other hand have had another season of disappointment but the signs are there that the mixture of experienced players and new players have learned a lot from the season and that in 2016 there is only one way to go and that is up … in saying that , they have one last opportunity in 2015 and it is the final game of the round , and the second night game of the season , when they take on King Country under lights at Taupo from 7.30pm. King Country Rams will be hoping for a convincing performance to secure themselves a Lochore Cup Semi Final and a Bonus Point win could land them a home Semi Final, that is if North Otago fall against Mid Canterbury.
The Permutation’s for this round though abound with many endings here we see what points the teams could end on ..
Meads Cup possibilities ….
- a win by Wairarapa-Bush (with a Bonus point ) will get them a Meads Cup Semi Final
- a win by Wairarapa-Bush (without Bonus point ) will get them a Meads Cup Semi Final only if Horowhenua-Kapiti do not get a Try Bonus if they Win
- a win by Wanganui with a Try Bonus will get them a Home Meads Cup Semi Final , only if Mid Canterbury lose without a bonus point
- Horowhenua-Kapiti could get a Meads Cup Semi Final with a win over Buller, only if Wairarapa-Bush lose to Wanganui outright.
- If North Otago win with a try Bonus Point and Wairarapa-Bush and Horowhenua-Kapiti both lose with Bonus points then North Otago will finish fourth.
Lochore Cup possibilities ….
- If Wairarapa-Bush lose and Horowhenua-Kapiti Win , Wai-Bush will host a Lochore Cup Semi Final
- If Horowhenua-Kapiti lose and Wairarapa-Bush win then , Horo-Kapiti will host a Lochore Cup Semi Final
- If North Otago lose they will host a Lochore Cup Semi Final unless they lose without a bonus point , then King Country , Buller , West Coast win with Bonus points could knock them back to an away Semi Final.
- If King Country Win with Bonus Point they will host a Semi Final unless North Otago win.
- If Buller win over Horowhenua-Kapiti they will need at least a bonus point to secure a Lochore Cup Semi Final if West Coast Win without Bonus Point.
- If West Coast Win , they need to win by more than 13 points to overtake Buller On Differential if King Country , and Buller finish on the Same Points , otherwise if Buller and West Coast finish equal , then West Coast will make the Semi Finals on the back of their regular season victory over Buller , if 3 teams finish on equal points then it is differential that sorts out the places.
- Thames Valley’s slim chance of a place is a Bonus Point Victory with King Country , Buller and West Coast all losing with no Bonus points and a victory of 60 points or more over West Coast.
We are sure their are more possibilities but as we see it these above are the main points
TIES DURING OR AT CONCLUSION OF ROUND ROBIN ( from COMPETITION REGULATIONS )
10. In the event that two or more Provincial Unions in the Heartland Championship have the same number of competition points, the positions of the Provincial Unions will be determined in accordance with the following criteria, which will be applied in the order in which they appear below until a result as to the positions of the relevant Provincial Unions is determined:
a. Where any two Provincial Unions are tied:
i. The winner of any Round Robin match played between the two Provincial Unions in that year will have the higher position.
ii. The Provincial Union which has the higher points difference in the Round Robin will have the higher position
b. Where three or more Provincial Unions are tied:
i. the tied Provincial Union with the most competition points in that year against the other tied Provincial Unions shall have the higher position
ii. if three or more Provincial Unions have an equal number of competition points against the other tied Provincial Unions, the tied Provincial Union which has the higher points difference in the Round Robin will have the higher position
c. If a tie cannot be broken by the criteria set out in subclauses (a) and (b) of this clause:
i. The Provincial Union that scored the most tries in the Round Robin shall have the higher position.
ii. The Provincial Union that scored the most points in the Round Robin shall have the higher position.
iii. The toss of a coin will be used.
I guess we will all know the final outcomes by 9pm on Saturday Night ……
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|10-Oct||Thames Valley 10th v 9th West Coast||Paeroa||2.00pm|
|10-Oct||Poverty Bay 11th v 1st South Canterbury||Gisborne||2.00pm|
|10-Oct||Horowhenua Kapiti 5th v 8th Buller||Levin||2.30pm|
|10-Oct||North Otago 6th v 2nd Mid Canterbury||Oamaru||2.30pm|
|10-Oct||Wairarapa Bush 4th v 3rd Wanganui||Masterton||2.30pm|
|10-Oct||King Country 7th v 12th East Coast||Taupo||7.30pm|
Click here to view the Pink Batts Heartland Championship 2015 draw.
|Current NZ TAB Odds to win the Meads Cup + (starting price on the 22nd August 2014)|
MATCH STATISTICS head to head
We begin our head to head match-ups with Wairarapa Bush vs Wanganui , these two sides first met in 1890 (as Wairarapa ) and 1897 ( as Bush ) where they played 50 a total of 50 games as individual unions then since Bush and Wairarapa merged in 1971 they have since met 40 times. 90 matches over 115 years and we Wanganui lead with an average score of only 15.60 vs 14.13 and this weekend a Meads Cup Semi Final on offer a huge match is expected.
Wairarapa-Bush (22pts) v Wanganui (28pts) at Masterton: There is plenty at stake for both teams in this one. Wanganui have a Meads Cup semi guaranteed but need at least a couple more points – and probably five – if they are to have any chance of a home match. Wairarapa-Bush need to not only win but also claim an extra bonus point for scoring four or more tries if they are to make the Meads Cup semis as well.
If Wairarapa-Bush and Horowhenua-Kapiti are still equal on competition points after Saturday then you’d have to favour Wairarapa-Bush coming fourth on points differential. Right now, they stand at plus 68 while Horowhenua-Kapiti are plus 15. A Wairarapa-Bush loss wouldn’t be the end of the road for them though as, no matter what happens this weekend, they are assured of at least a home Lochore Cup semi. Same with Horowhenua-Kapiti.
Detailed Head to Head’s continued ….
Horowhenua-Kapiti (22pts) v Buller (16pts) at Levin: A Meads Cup semifinal could be on the line for Horowhenua-Kapiti. They will be aiming for the maximum five points, a result which would mean Wairarapa-Bush having to replicate that effort against Wanganui to keep Horowhenua-Kapiti from snatching the fourth qualifying spot at the last gasp. Even a bonus point or two might be enough for Horowhenua-Kapiti, who knows? Don’t discount the prospects of a Buller upset though. They probably need a victory to make it to the Lochore Cup semis so won’t lack anything on the score of motivation.
North Otago (18pts) v Mid-Canterbury (29pts) at Oamaru: Pick up five points and North Otago could find themselves in the Meads Cup semis, come away with nothing and they could even struggle to make the Lochore Cup play-offs. The pressure is on them big time. Mid-Canterbury has a Meads Cup semi in the bag but could need a win here to ensure they are playing that game at home.
Poverty Bay (10pts) v South Canterbury (30pts) in Gisborne: Poverty Bay have already done an England, they sit second-last on the points table and won’t be playing off for any of the trophies. South Canterbury are a very different kettle of fish. They sit at number one on the competition ladder but could drop to third and therefore lose the hosting rights for a Meads Cup semi if they happen to lose here.
Thames Valley (11pts) v West Coast (16pts) at Paeroa: The Meads Cup semis are out of the question for both these sides and the Lochore Cup semis seem a bridge too far for Thames Valley as well. Not so West Coast though. They are still a big hope for the Lochore Cup play-offs, especially if they can pick up the maximum five points.
A brief look at what Saturday’s results could mean for the combatants:
King Country (16pts) v East Coast (2pts) at Taupo: King Country will know that a five-point haul would almost certainly take them into the Lochore Cup semis. East Coast will simply be looking forward to ending a season which has seen them on the receiving end of numerous hefty beatings.
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