Canterbury Assert Dominance as Favorite in New Zealand’s Bunnings NPC
Mid-week rugby in New Zealand has seen Canterbury yet again assert their dominance over the country’s provincial competition.
With their most recent win over North Harbour taking Canterbury to four wins from five matches, the men in red and black are sitting on top of the Bunnings NPC 2022 on 21 points. Having started the season in the unusual position of only second-favorite at the bookies, Canterbury are now well ahead of the rest of the pack as favorites to win the competition.
Here’s a look at how the game against North Harbour panned out, and what that’s done to the bookmakers’ odds moving forward.
Canterbury and North Harbour Meet in Clash of 2022’s Form Teams
Heading into this match, both teams were looking to prove that they meant business this season.
North Harbour, with only two wins from four, had impressed in each of their outings this year.
Opening the season with a loss to Auckland where they competed right up until the final hooter, North Harbour then strung together impressive wins against Manawatu and Tasman; putting 64 points on the woeful Manawatu, and getting home against last year’s finalists Tasman, 35-27.
Last week, North Harbour were unlucky not to walk away from Napier with the Ranfurly Shield, losing 25-23 to Hawkes Bay due to a late try.
Canterbury, on the other hand, had strung together three impressive wins, with only one blemish on their record against Taranaki.
High scoring wins of 62-15 over Manawatu, 43-10 over Wellington and 52-20 over Tasman showed off the firepower Canterbury has in their backline—power that was restricted, when Taranaki suffocated them to a 16-10 defeat two weeks ago.
With two teams in electric form coming face to face against each other, only one could come out on top.
Impressive Showing by Canterbury Over North Harbour
That team was Canterbury, as they flexed their muscles and put away North Harbour 35-22 on Wednesday evening.
The men from down south started strong, with two penalties and a converted try in the first 15 minutes. Two more tries came soon after to Dallas McLeod and Alex Harford, and only a late try before the break kept North Harbour in touch, going into the sheds at 25-10.
Striking first after the break through Tevita Langi, North Harbour looked to make a game of it in the second half, drawing to within range of Canterbury at 25-17.
However, it was to be another strong 15 minutes, this time at the back end of the game, that saw the home side pull away—a penalty and converted try put the result beyond a doubt, with North Harbour sneaking a late consolation try to end the match 35-22.
Canterbury had yet again proved themselves in the Bunnings NPC, and asserted themselves over one of the season’s form teams.
Bookmakers’ Odds Turn Towards Canterbury
Pre-season, Tasman were favorites to take the Bunnings NPC 2022 title, on +250.
Canterbury were close behind on +275, with Wellington and Auckland next in line on +400 and +500. Fast forward a month, and recent results have shifted those odds significantly.
Canterbury are now in pole position at the bookies, with a moneyline of +150 to win the tournament outright. Auckland sit next in line—as they do on the points table, one point behind Canterbury—on a moneyline of +325.
Tasman and Wellington—who both sit outside the top four in their respective pools after a month’s play—are well off the pace at the bookies. Tasman now have odds of +1400 to win the competition, while Wellington are marginally better at +1100.
Waikato and Hawkes Bay have seen their strong performance in the Odds pool rewarded at the bookies, with the two sides shooting up in the outright odds to win the Bunnings NPC. Waikato now sit at +400, and Hawkes Bay at +900, a significant improvement on their pre-season odds.
With Canterbury and the Hawkes Bay meeting this coming Sunday, again, the Cantabrians will have an opportunity to prove their mettle against a form team.
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