Welcome to the second “cross-over*” round of the season.
This weeks first game sees the Battle of the Bridge between North Harbour Hibiscus and the Auckland Storm at QBE Stadium on Friday night, kickoff is at 5.05pm live on Sky Sport. The Hibiscus are coming off a comprehensive win from the previous week and will look to keep their momentum going against their neighbours. The Storm had a hard fought win over the Wellington Pride last week and are looking to this game to secure their semi-final play off. Special mention also goes to Auckland No 2 Fiao’o Fa’amausili who will be playing her 100th provincial cap for Storm this weekend.
Game two has the Otago Spirit hosting the Wellington Pride at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Sat afternoon, kickoff at 12.30pm (this game won’t be televised). The Spirit will be coming off their bye weekend and have the advantage of fresh players for this game while the Pride will be on the hunt for more competition points after their heartbreaking one point loss to the Storm last week.
The third game of the round sees the Hawkes Bay Tuis hosting the Manawatu Cyclones at Tremain Field in Napier on Saturday afternoon at 1pm. The Tuis have yet to gain any competition points but will look at this game to rectify that with a win from this game putting them in contention for a playoff spot. The Cyclones will come into this game knowing they can play an expansive game as shown from last weeks performance against Waikato and if they pick up the win will go a long way to keeping their playoff dreams alive.
The next game of the round has Waikato hosting the Bay of Plenty Volcanix at Beetham Park in Hamilton with a kickoff at 2.45pm. Both teams come into this game from wins from the previous weekend and will look to keep the momentum going. Waikato showed they can play a wide ranging game out the back and have good solid scrum upfront. The Volcanix are looking for their fourth straight win of the season with their first match ending in a draw. **This game will be live streamed thanks to Waikato Womens Rugby. Link here**
The final game of the round sees Canterbury host their northern neighbours the Tasman Makos at AMI Stadium on Saturday afternoon with a kickoff at 4.45pm. Canterbury are on a high after beating Counties Power Heat not only for competition points but also for the JJ Stewart Trophy. They will also put the Trophy up for grabs in this game as they are now the holders of it. The Makos, in their first season, are yet to put any competition points on the board but will look to improve their overall game, as they have shown flair and a good attacking scrum to start from. **This game is a curtain raiser to a Mitre 10 Cup match and will not be televised**
With only two weeks left in normal round robin play the Premiership looks to be up for grabs by any of the six teams in the league as there are only six points separating the top team from the bottom team. With Counties Power Heat having the bye this week bonus points will come into play heavily in the last two rounds.
The Bay of Plenty Volcanix look to have the Championship all sowed up but it’s still a race on to see who gets the two semifinal spots.
This weeks games for the “cross-over” round look like hard graft for all the teams involved. Good luck to everyone involved.
If you can’t watch the game on Friday night, I will be live tweeting it and I will also be live tweeting the Canterbury vs Tasman Makos game as well.