Taranaki vs Wellington
We can expect another titanic battle between these sides as Taranaki is unbeaten after two matches while Wellington has lost one match. That loss was hard to swallow as they led 32-7 at halftime. Wellington is without two All Blacks in Asafo Aumua and Julian Savea but they have class players to replace them. Taranaki are unbeaten this season and sit on top of the log in the Championship Division. Wellington have selected young star Reuben Love at 10 in the first two matches but he finds himself in the 15 jersey this match. His battle with his opposite number Stephen Perofeta will be special as these two players are the catalysts for their team’s attacks. The Taranaki forwards seem to hold the edge in this match while the Wellington Lions have the more dangerous backline.
TIP: The beauty of this NPC tournament is that a Premiership team can be beaten by a Championship team if they are not at their best. I think this is one of those matches where we could see an upset. The Lions are missing a few first team regulars while Taranaki are almost at full strength with the notable omission of Lachlan Boshier who is injured. A interesting sub plot in this match is the selection of inexperienced number 10s on both sides but we can expect the playmaking duties to be shared with the fullbacks. I say this because both the 15s have been playing most of their careers at 10. The bookies have the Lions as favourites but im going for the upset and tipping Taranaki for the win. The best odds on this bet are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 2.50, Playabets 2.40 and Sunbet 2.25
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Taranaki vs Wellington
- In the last five matches there have been three victories form Wellington and two for Taranaki.
- Taranaki have lost their last four home matches against Wellington.
- Taranaki have never won at home against Wellington.
Latest results for both teams
Taranaki won their last match against Northland 48-14 while Wellington lost their last game against Waikato 43-37
These teams will both be rusty after a month’s break due to the Covid pandemic. I expect the teams to be play it safe and keeping the ball amongst the forwards seems like the wise thing to do. This will suit Taranaki as they have the more formidable forward park and are particularly strong in the loose trio. The Lions need to make certain that they are disciplined as any mistakes will be punished by the home players. The front row battle will go a long way to deciding this match as both front rows seem evenly matched. The player that has set the competition on fire so far has been Kini Naholo brother of Waisake. He has some serious knee injuries in the past but this season he is finally fulfilling all the promise. This match will go down to the wire and I predict a home victory by 4 points
- Probable Starting XVs
1 Reuben O Neill, 2 Bradley Slater, 3 Michael Bent, 4 Josh Lord, 5 Findlamor Hoeata, 6 Mitchell Crosswell, 7 Tom Florence, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 9 Logan Crowley, 10 Jayson Patroz, 11 Kini Naholo, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 13 Daniel Waite, 14 Jacob Ratumaitavuki- Kneepkens, 15 Stephen Perofeta
1 Xavier Numia 2 Tyrone Thompson 3 Alex Fidow 4 James Blackwell © 5 Caleb Delaney 6 Taine Plumtree 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi 8 Keelan Whitman 9 Richard Judd 10 Aidan Morgan 11 Pepesana Patafilo 12 Brandyn Laursen 13 Vince Aso 14 Wes Goosen 15 Ruben Love
Odds for this bet
The best odds on the Taranaki victory are as follows:
Odds comparison on the Taranaki handicap :
The complete odds on the Taranaki handicap:
Worldsportsbetting (+2.5) 1.90
Sunbet (+2.5) 1.82
Playabets (+2.5) 1.87
Predictions and Odds in details
I expect the Lions to play their expansive game but missing a few regulars will not make that easy. Taranaki have been miserly in defence and won’t make it easy for the visitors. The home team can boast players of the quality of Mitchell Crosswell, Tom Florence and Pita Gus Sowakula in their loose trio. These guys all have the talent and power to make life difficult for the Wellington side especially at the breakdown. The Lions also have a deadly winger in Wes Goosen and if given any space he will find his way to the tryline. His duel with Naholo could be one of the highlights of the match. There is excellent return for punters on the upset Taranaki win but if you want a safe bet then I suggest taking them on the handicap. The best odds on this bet are as follows: Worldsportsbetting (+2.5) 1.90, Sunbet (+2.5) 1.82 and Playabets (+2.5) 1.87
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.