While there is sure to be movement at the top of the respective ladders, at the bottom of the table Northland and Southland are in desperate scrap to avoid the wooden spoon with the Stags leading the Taniwha by just one point.
The Ranfurly Shield will also be up for grabs for one more time this season as new holders Canterbury face North Harbour in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon.
Southland v Bay of Plenty
Thursday 10 October, 7.35pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill. TICKETS.
Played: 39 (1938-2018)
Won: Southland 16, Bay of Plenty 22, drawn 1.
Last match: Bay of Plenty 26, Southland 22 at Invercargill 7/10/2018
Referee: Mike Winter
Bay of Plenty have been in red hot form in recent weeks and have the chance to go to the top of the Championship ladder with a win over Southland. The Stags have looked good at times in 2019 and will be equally desperate to finish on a high note and avoid any chance of being crowned the wooden spoon. If the Steamers do get the victory, they will have a nervous wait for the Tasman v Hawke’s Bay match. If the Magpies fall to the Mako then the Steamers will claim top spot.
Southland: 1: Joseph Walsh 2: Greg Pleasants-Tate 3: Morgan Mitchell 4: Craig Smith 5: Mike McKee 6: Brayden Mitchell 7: Matthew James 8: Charles Alaimalo 9: Logan Crowley 10: Mitchell Taylor 11: Lewis Ormond 12: Raymond Nu'u 13: Isaac Te Tamaki 14: Josh Moorby 15: Marty McKenziw
Reserves: Ryan Carter, Howard Silioto, Christopher Apoua, Raymond Tatafuu, Bill Fukofuka, Jay Renton, Moses Faletolu, Rory van Vugt
Bay of Plenty: 1: Aidan Ross 2: Nathan Vella 3: Jeff Thwaites 4: Aaron Carroll 5: Baden Wardlaw 6: Hugh Blake 7: Mitchell Karpik 8: Abraham Papali’i 9: Leroy Carter 10: Dan Hollinshead 11: Pryor Collier 12: Chase Tiatia 13: Mathew Skipwith-Garland 14: Emoni Narawa 15: Jason Robertson
Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Tevita Mafileo, Chris Eves, Stan Van de Hoven, Tom Franklin, Te Aihe Toma, Dennon Robinson-Bartlett, Declan Barnett
Taranaki v Auckland
Friday 11 October, 7.35pm, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth. TICKETS.
Played: 127 (1889-2018)
Won: Taranaki 30, Auckland 88, drawn 9.
Last match: Auckland 31, Taranaki 30 at New Plymouth 22/9/2018
Referee: Glen Jackson
This is a massive clash in New Plymouth with semi-final spots on the line for both Taranaki and Auckland. Taranaki are currently in fourth position on the Championship log and will confirm their spot in the playoffs with a win. The situation isn’t quite as clear for Auckland who sit at fifth in the Premiership. A win for the city-slickers will lift them to fourth place but they will then have to wait on the result of the North Harbour v Canterbury match-up to see if they qualify for the knockouts.
Taranaki: 1: Chris Gawler 2: Ricky Riccitelli 3: Donald Brighouse 4: Tupou Vaa’i 5: Josh Lord 6: Heiden Bedwell - Curtis 7: Kaylum Boshier 8: Pita-Gus Sowakula 9: Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi 10: Stephen Perofeta 11: Jayson Potroz 12: Teihorangi Walden 13: Sean Wainui 14: Waisake Naholo 15: Daniel Waite.
Reserves: Bradley Slater, Jared Proffit, Kyle Stewart, Tom Florence Lachlan Boshier, Lisata Milo-Harris, Matthew McKenzie, Liam Blyde
Auckland: 1: Alex Hodgman 2: Leni Apisai 3: Marcel Renata 4: Jamie Lane 5: Scott Scrafton 6: Dalton Papalii 7: Adrian Choat 8: Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa 9: Jonathan Ruru 10: Harry Plummer 11: Salesi Rayasi 12: TJ Faiane 13: Tumua Manu 14: AJ Lam 15: Jordan Trainor
Reserves: Robbie Abel, Jarred Adams, Marco Fepulea’I, Lyndon Dunshea, Akira Ioane, Danny Tusitala, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Kurt Heatherley
Hawke’s Bay v Tasman
Saturday 12 October, 2.35pm, McLean Park, Napier. TICKETS.
Played: 10 (2007-18)
Won: Hawke’s Bay 2, Tasman 8
Last match: Tasman 29 Hawke’s Bay 0 at Nelson 11/10/2018
Referee: Richard Kelly
It’s the leading Premiership side versus the leading Championship side in Napier. The Mako are unbeaten in 2019 and cannot be caught at the top of the Premiership table. Hawke’s Bay have locked in a home semi-final but can still be overtaken by Bay of Plenty if they don’t get a win over the Mako. Plenty to play for here with the Mako wanting to maintain their unbeaten run and the Magpies desperate to lock up top spot in the Championship.
Hawke’s Bay: 1: Pouri Rakete-Stones 2: Ash Dixon 3: Namatahi Waa 4: Geoff Cridge 5: Tom Parsons 6: Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7: Brendon O’Connor 8: Gareth Evans 9: Folau Fakatava 10: Lincoln McClutchie 11: Mason Emerson 12: Danny Toala 13: Neria Fomai 14: Caleb Makene 15: Tiaan Falcon
Reserves: Kianu Kereru-Symes, Jason Long, Ben May, Isaia Walker-Leaware, Devan Flanders, Josh Kaifa, Zach Donaldson, Ollie Sapsford
Tasman: 1: Wyatt Crockett 2: Andrew Makalio 3: Tyrel Lomax 4: Quinten Strange 5: Pari Pari Parkinson 6: Ethan Blackadder 7: Jacob Norris 8: Jordan Taufua 9: Finlay Christie 10: Mitch Hunt 11: Leicester Faingaanuku 12: Alex Nankivell 13: Levi Aumua 14: Jamie Spowart 15: Will Jordan
Reserves: Hugh Roach, Wyatt Crockett, Samuel Matenga, , Ethan Blackadder, Declan Smith, Tim O’Malley, Tima Faingaanuku, David Havili
Reserves: Hugh Roach, Ryan Coxon, Isaac Salmon, Te Ahiwaru Cirikdaveta, Braden Stewart, Uchida Keisuke, Fetuli Paea, Jamie Spowart
Manawatu v Counties Manukau
Saturday 12 October, 5.05pm, CET Stadium, Palmerston North. TICKETS.
Played: 34 (1973-2017)
Won: Manawatu 13, Counties Manukau 20, drawn 1.
Last match: Counties Manukau 29, Manawatu 24 at Palmerston North 5/10/2017
Referee: Dan Waenga
It has been a season to forget for the Counties Manukau Steelers. They sit at the foot of the Premiership ladder, 11 points adrift of sixth-placed Waikato. A win over Manawatu won’t help the Steelers avoid relegation but it will provide some comfort to their fans and a little confidence heading into the 2020 season. Come game time Manawatu will know what is required to make the playoffs. If Taranaki beat Auckland on Friday night, then the Turbos playoff hopes are over. If Taranaki fell short, then the Turbos have it all to play for to make the semi-finals.
Manawatu: 1: Fraser Armstrong 2: Sam Stewart 3: Samuela Tawake 4: Fraser Stone 5: Liam Mitchell 6: Nick Crosswell 7: Johnny Galloway 8: Brayden Iose 9: Jamie Booth 10: Otere Black 11: Josiah Maraku 12: Ngani Laumape 13: James Tofa 14: Andre Taylor 15: Sam Malcolm
Counties Manukau: 1: Conan O’Donnell 2: Joseph Royal 3: Tim Metcher 4: Mickey Wooliams 5: Daymon Leasuasu 6: Jonathan Kawau 7: Sam Henwood 8: Dan Hyatt 9: Jonathan Taumateine 10: Orbyn Leger 11: Liam Fitzsimons 12: Cardiff Vaega 13: Nikolai Foliaki 14: Kirisi Kuridrani 15: Andrew Kellaway
Reserves: Donald Maka, Sean Bagshaw, Suetena Asomua, Sikeli Nabou, Savelio Ropati, Liam Daniela, Rodney Tongotea, Kalione Hala
Saturday 12 October, 7.35pm, Westpac Stadium, Wellington. TICKETS.
Played: 72 (1923-2018). Wellington 38 wins, Waikato 33 wins, drawn 1.
Last match: Waikato 43, Wellington 31 at Hamilton 5/9/2018
Referee: Angus Mabey
The Lions can sew up a home semi-final with a win over the Mooloos at the caketin. Waikato have been unlucky not to pick up more wins in 2019 but still have a mathematical chance of making the playoffs. If North Harbour and Auckland both lose in round ten without picking up bonus points, and Waikato pick up a bonus point win over Wellington, then the Mooloos march into the semi-finals.
Wellington: 1: Xavier Numia 2: Asafo Aumua 3: Alex Fidow 4: Vaea Fifita 5: James Blackwell 6: Mateaki Kafatolu 7: Du’Plessis Kirifi 8: Ben-Nicholas Teariki 9: Kemara Hauiti-Parapara 10: Jackson Garden-Bachop 11: Vince Aso 12: Peter Umaga-Jensen 13: Billy Proctor 14: Wes Goosen 15: Trent Renata
Reserves: James O’Reilly, Sitiveni Paongo, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Galu Taufale, Connor Collins, Pepesana Patafilo, Connor Garden-Bachop
Waikato: 1: Rob Cobb 2: Samisoni Taukei’aho 3: Sefo Kautai 4: Apisai Naikatini 5: James Tucker 6: Samipeni Finau 7: Mitch Jacobsen 8: Murray Iti 9: Jack Stratton 10: Fletcher Smith 11: Solomon Alaimalo 12: Dwayne Sweeney 13: Quinn Tupaea 14: Declan O’Donnell 15: Rivez Reihana
Reserves: Sekope Lopeti-Moli, Ollie Norris, Joshua Iosefa-Scott, Laghlan McWhannell, Simon Parker, Carlos Price, Louis Rogers, Bailyn Sullivan
Northland v Otago
Sunday 13 October, 2.05pm, Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei. TICKETS.
Played: 48 (1936-2018)
Won: Otago 35, Northland 11, drawn 2.
Last match: Otago 27 Northland 23 at Dunedin 7/9/2018
Referee: James Munro
Win or lose, Otago will retain their place at three on the Championship ladder. For Northland, there is a little more to play for. They have played entertaining rugby throughout the season but have struggled for consistency with only one victory coming so far. The Taniwha are currently one point behind Southland on the Championship ladder and will know what is needed to avoid the wooden spoon come kick off.
Canterbury v North Harbour
Sunday 13 October, 4.35pm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch. TICKETS.
Played: 31 (1988-2018)
Won: Canterbury 21, North Harbour 7, drawn 3.
Last match: Canterbury 31, North Harbour 21 at Albany 12/9/2018
Referee: James Doleman
The final game of the regular season is shaping up to be the game of the round also. With both teams currently placed at three and four on the ladder, this clash will decide the final make-up of the Premiership playoffs. If there wasn’t enough riding on this game already, there is also the added bonus of the Ranfurly Shield on the line. North Harbour’s only previous Ranfurly Shield reign began with a victory over Canterbury in 2006. They will be hoping history can repeat itself in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon.
Canterbury: 1: Daniel Lienert- Brown 2: Brodie McAlister 3: Owen Franks 4: Luke Romano 5: Mitchell Dunshea 6: Reed Prinsep 7: Billy Harmon 8: Luke Whitelock 9: Mitchell Drummond 10: Brett Cameron 11: Ngane Punivai 12: Tim Bateman 13: Brayden Ennor 14: Dallas McLeod 15: Josh McKay
North Harbour: 1: Karl Tuinukuafe 2: Luteru Tolai 3: Sione Mafileo 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti 5: Ben Nee-Nee 6: Ethan Roots 7: Tate Evans 8: Murphy Taramai 9: Bryn Hall 10: Matt McGahan 11: Mark Telea 12: Harrison Groundwater 13: Asaeli Tikoirotuma 14: Matt Duffie 15: Shaun Stevenson
Reserves: David Meki, Luatangi Li, Jimmy Roots, Xavier Cowley-Tuioti , Lotu Inisi, Lewis Gjaltema, Fine Inisi, Osea Qamasea