Hey fam! Week 2 of the FPC has been and gone and it was a slightly lopsided weekend with (I was hoping) a few good turns. It was a full on weekend with six games in total being played all over the country. Counties Manukau Heat had the bye this weekend.
Thanks to Manawatu Rugby, Tasman Rugby and Otago Spirit for live-streaming their games on Facebook.
Game 1 of the weekend had North Harbour Hibiscus host Bay of Plenty Volcanix at North Harbour Stadium on a chill Friday afternoon.
The Hibiscus started out well and then fizzled off as the game wore on. The Volcanix showed with their flair and running game why they will be contenders this year with a dazzling 67 -17 win over the Hibiscus.
Game 2 of the round had Waikato (still no nickname – and we are not saying the ridiculously long Universities whatever name they have) play the Taranaki Whio (solid name) at FMG Stadium on Saturday morning-ish. The Whio came out strong in the first 10 – 15 minutes of the game then faded like a flower as the match wore on. Fitness levels need to be brought up by all teams as this looks like a reoccurring theme throughout this weekends games.
Waikato (I christen you “The Dubs”) won the match convincingly with a 76-14 dominate display of athleticism.
MICHAEL BRADLEY/GETTY IMAGES
Game 3 had the Manawatu Cyclones host Canterbury at Central Energy Trust Arena in Palmerston North. The Cyclones lead early in the first half and only trailed 15 – 10 to Canterbury at the break. Canterbury must have got a talking to at halftime because they managed to take the game 36-10 with 16 unanswered points being scored in the second half. Kendra Cocksedge also showed why she is the best rugby player in New Zealand with her command of the forward pack and aim with the boot.
The Cyclones can come away from this game with a sense of accomplishment as the scoreline did not reflect that actually game as it was anyones game up until the closing whistle.
Game 4 had Tasman Mako host Wellington Pride at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim on a ridiculously sunny and chill Saturday afternoon. Even through the Pride ran rampant around Blenheim with a 62 – 0 win over the Mako, Tasman can still hold their own against any opponent with better fitness.
Game 5 was probably the game of the round as the Northland Kauri hosted the Auckland Storm at Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei. The Kauri took an early lead at 15-14 after 20 minutes. With superstar back Portia Woodward playing for them the Kauri had an impressive backline along with sevens’ player Tyler Nathan-Wong also in the mix. The Kauri had every opportunity to take this game away from the Storm but couldn’t quite do it. An impressive game from Aroha Savage at No.8 shows she is definitely a player to watch. Auckland eventually won 29-22 with 4 tries to 3.
The last game of the round had Otago Spirit host Hawkes Bay Tuis at Forysth Barr Stadium in Dunedin. The Spirit are showing once again why they will likely be in the playoffs this year with an empathetic win of 29 – 20. The Tui are also showing us how fair they’ve come along with a solid display of fitness and a forward pack to watch.
This weeks games has shown the clear front runners for this years title with only two weeks of play. The dark horse who may bolt look like the Northland Kauri and the Manawatu Cyclones.
I’ll catch everyone next week for round 3 where it looks like we’ll have a bumper of a weekend.