Counties Manukau vs North Harbour
This match promises to be a tight contest as both these teams are coming off first round defeats. Counties in particular will need a victory as it’s their first home match of the season. They were awful in their loss to the Turbos with the main culprit being their captain Orbyn Leger. He was error prone especially with his kicking. He twice kicked the restart out on the full and kicked a penalty dead when his team were in a great attacking position. North Harbour started their match well against Waikato but fell away badly in the second half. They struggled at scrum time and gave away many penalties that Waikato duly capitalized on. They will need to be better at scrum time as Counties have a strong front row that includes experienced Wallaby Sekope Kepu. The 104 test veteran was very dominant in the loss to the Turbos.
TIP: North Harbour certainly has the edge at half back with experienced Super Rugby players Bryn Hall and Bryn Gatland at 9 and 10 respectively. They are great at controlling the game. The Counties half back pair needs to step up in this game and better manage the team around the park. They will look to their forwards to take control of the match as I feel the Counties pack have an advantage over Harbour. They will target the scrums especially as Harbour struggled in this area in their last match. The player Counties will need to keep a close eye on is Shaun Stevenson as he is great at counter attack with his pace. Any aimless kicking will be punished by him. The bookies have North Harbour as strong favourites for this game but I’m going for the upset win for Counties. There are great odds on the upset victory and these are the best odds available: Worldsportsbetting 4.00, Playabets 3.20 and Sunbet 3.20
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Counties Manukau vs North Harbour
- In the last five meetings there have been four wins for Harbour and just one win for Counties.
- In two home matches against Harbour, Counties have won one and lost one.
- The last time Counties beat Harbour was in 2019.
Latest results for both teams
Counties lost their last match against the Turbos 39-21 while Harbour lost their last match against Waikato 28-15.
The Counties team had no edge or fluency in their attack and this is down to poor game management from Leger who has to shoulder the blame for the loss. This week they are boosted by the selection of All Black Hoskins Sotutu who will start. He came on as a replacement in the last match and the team showed a massive improvement after he came on. He will be keen to impress the national selectors so expect a barn storming performance from him. Harbour also possesses a dangerous back line and Gatland will be desperate to ignite them. He tends to kick too much and if they adopt a ball in hand approach this could be a tight contest. The Counties team has the edge in the forwards and this is why I’m predicting a tight victory for the home team by 3 points.
- Probable Starting XVs
1. Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 2. Joe Royal, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Matiaha Martin (co-capt), 5. Viliame Rarasea, 6. Ray Tatafu, 7. Alamanda Motuga, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 9. Jonathan Taumateine, 10. Orbyn Leger (co-capt), 11. Jarrod Halliday, 12. Tanielu Tele’a, 13. Amanaki Savieti, 14. Jared Page, 15. Luteru Laulala
1. Mayhew N, 2 Tolai, L.3 Mafileo, S.4 Pierce, J.5 Cowley-Tuioti X, 6 Suafoa ,C.7 Taramai M.8 Inisi L.9 Hall B,10 Gatland B,11 Banks K, 12 Taefu H, 13 Little J, 14 Aoake T, 15 Stevenson S.
Odds for this bet
The best odds on the Counties Manukau victory are as follows:
Odds comparison on the Counties Manukau handicap :
The complete odds on the Counties Manukau handicap:
Worldsportsbetting (+8.5) 1.90
Sunbet (+7.5) 1.88
Playabets (+7.5) 1.85
Predictions and Odds in details
This competition sees a lot of running rugby but both these team will be more intent on bashing the ball up with their forwards before trying to unleash their backline. This could play into the hands of the home team as this is their strength. Their scrum is stronger and the addition of Sotutu will help them get that front foot ball they sorely missed in the last match. The kicking game of both teams will be crucial and this is an area that Harbour will hold the edge as both Gatland and Hall are great kickers. Leger will be hoping that his half back partner Jonathan Taumateine will assist him with the kicking duties to relieve some of the pressure from him. The upset victory is paying great money but if you looking for a safety bet then I suggest Counties on the handicap. The best odds on this bet are as follows: Worldsportsbetting (+8.5) 1.90, Sunbet (+7.5) 1.88 and Playabets (+7.5) 1.85
Sports crazy fan that follows all major sport but the game with the oval ball is my real passion. Was an age level rugby coach and a huge supporter of the Springboks and diehard Liverpool man. I’m an experienced punter and sports writer whose predictions/tips are sure to stir up the emotions. I love the occasional wager on the underdog.