Round 5 of the Bunnings NPC saw big wins for Bay of Plenty away at Otago and Northland pip Auckland 23-22 in a Whangarei thriller. It doesn’t get any easier for Auckland this week either, as they turn right around to travel to Hamilton to face Waikato in a clash right at the top of the log.
Here is a look at some of the matches on tap this weekend with BetXchange.
Waikato VS Auckland – FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton
The tie of Round 6 sees Odds Conference leaders Waikato host Evens Conference second-placed team Auckland in Hamilton. Waikato has 21 points from four wins and a draw in their five games and is the only undefeated team in the comp. Auckland sits on 21 points from six games with four wins and two defeats, five points behind Canterbury in their conference.
Auckland will be looking to bounce back after their stunning defeat at the hands of Northland last time out. The one-point win was the first for Northland in Whangarei in 46 years. I think Auckland come out strong here and win this straight up as 12/10 underdoags with BetXchange.
North Harbour VS Bay of Plenty – QBE Stadium, Albany
The fourth placed team in each conference clash here as Bay of Plenty travel to take on North Harbor. BoP had a nice 33-27 win over Otago las time out, while North Harbor were comfortable 37-12 victors over Counties Manukau.
Bay of Plenty have an ace up their sleeve here with Aidan Ross being available to prop after his All Blacks release. At the provincial level a player like Ross can made a big difference and I think having him in the side will be enough to see BoP cover the 5.5 point spread.
Tasman VS Taranaki – Trafalgar Park, Nelson
Taranaki is in a weird spot. It was their work after a season where they won the championship – and were unable to win the premiership – that saw this competition be set up in a brand new way. Their 2022 has been bad, however, and they are currently sixth out of seven in the Evens conference with just six points from five games. That is one lace and six points behind Tasman in the same conference.
It looks like Sevu Reece is unlikely to play for Tasman this weekend after playing at 15 for his province in their 25-19 defeat to Wellington on Wednesday night. It is that short turnaround for the hosts that has me liking Taranaki in this one to at least cover the 2.5 point spread and maybe even win outright.
Wellington VS Otago – Sky Stadium, Wellington
Wellington also plays on the short week as they host Otago in a battle between third (wellington) and fith (Otago) in the Odds Conference. That BoP defeat was a stinging one for Otago and it has them on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff spots. A win here, however, would get them at least level on points with Wellington and potentially ahead depending on relative bonus points.
That win over Tasman was the first for Wellington in 12 years in the rivalry and I like them to use the momentum to pick up their third win of the week.