We look at Week Five of the 2015 Heartland Championship and Mid Canterbury are still the only un-beaten side in the 2015 Heartland Championship as their defence of the Meads Cup for the third consecutive year gains momentum .
We highlight this week our Match of the Round , as Horowhenua-Kapiti versus North Otago , in one of the rarer matches in the current Heartland Championship format these two sides have only met 4 times in the past 10 years with North Otago being dominant with a 100% winning record over the 4 matches played. But the importance of this match is that we see 4th (Horo-Kapiti) vs 5th (Nth Otago) on the ladder and a win in Levin for either side would solidify their position for Meads Cup Play-offs.
Horowhenua-Kapiti have been scoring freely this season and they must be looking towards a first ever victory over the Old Golds , the closest they have got was at their last meeting in 2013 when they succumbed 22-27 in Oamaru otherwise North Otago have had convincing wins in 2011 , 2008 and 2006.
A win without Bonus points would see Horowhenua-Kapiti climb to 17pts (18pts with Bonus Try) and North Otago would go to 16pts (17pts with Try Bonus) and with a rough cut-off of at least 26 points to make the Meads Cup with 3 matches after this and a possible 15 points still available the winner would be as they say in the “box seat” for a Championship Semi-Final.
With a loss and they risk falling pack into the pack with Wairarapa-Bush , Thames Valley , King Country and Poverty Bay behind them the pressure will be on those sides as they all have away matches this weekend. Which in itself makes for an intriguing round of matches. If Buller and West Coast pick up home victories then will have a table with 3 rounds to go that would have several teams still in contention for the coveted Meads Cup Semi Finals.
Mid Canterbury , Wanganui and South Canterbury can basically lock in the first three spots if they can defend their home field advantages this weekend while East Coast though the first team out of the finals race this season showed major improvement after some disappointing results in the first three weeks they bounced back to the style we know they can produced last weekj against Horowhenua-Kapiti only to lose their way in the final 5 minutes letting Horo-Kapiti use their “get out of jail card” .
|Heartland matches played between Horowhenua-Kapiti and North Otago 2006/2013|
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|19-Sep||West Coast 10th v 6th Wairarapa Bush||Greymouth||1.30pm|
|19-Sep||Buller 11th v 9th Poverty Bay||Westport||2.30pm|
|19-Sep||Horowhenua Kapiti 4th v 5th North Otago||Levin||2.30pm|
|19-Sep||Mid Canterbury 1st v 12th Ngāti Porou East Coast||Ashburton||2.30pm|
|19-Sep||South Canterbury 3rd v 7th Thames Valley||Timaru||2.30pm|
|19-Sep||Wanganui 2nd v 8th King Country||Wanganui||2.30pm|
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)|
|12||Ngāti Porou East Coast||$251.00||(81.00)|
We begin our Match Breakdowns with West Coast hosting Wairarapa-Bush with a look firstly at the stats from the Heartland Championship where they have met seven times with a 4 – 3 win advantage to Wairarapa Bush , but these two (three) have actually met on 22 occasion since 1934 with 3 matches against the “Bush Union” and 2 matches versus the “Wairarapa Union” before the amalgamation of Bush and Wairarapa in 1971. An interesting stat from these meetings were in 1961 when West Coast traveled north to play them seeing the Coasters win 17-3 in Masterton then 4 days later they met Bush in Eketahuna to record the only Draw 14-14.
This trip was the final time they played Wairarapa as an individual union and they then met Bush one more time in 1964 when they (Bush) traveled to Greymouth , with West Coast being triumphant 11- 08. The next meeting was not until 1972 when West Coast traveled north once again to play the newly formed Wairarapa-Bush Union and the only time they had played in Pahiatua saw a victory to the hosts 25-04.
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