The finals of the 2011 ITM Cup are being played this weekend. Waikato and Canterbury have made the final of the Premiership, being played in Hamilton on Saturday. Manawatu host Hawkes Bay for the Championship on Sunday, with the winner being promoted to the Premiership next year.
Southland will be relegated to the Championship in 2012 after coming bottom of the Premiership ladder. They also lost the Ranfurly Shield to Taranaki having won it in dramatic fashion off Canterbury earlier in the year. Taranaki then defended the shield against Hawkes Bay and can put it away for the year.
The Premiership final is a repeat of last year’s ITM Cup final when Waikato played Canterbury but lost 33 – 13. This year Canterbury will be going for an impressive fourth straight championship title.
2011 ITM Cup Finals:
Saturday, September 4, 2011 at 7:35pm Waikato v Canterbury Hamilton
RugbyFix Pick: WAIKATO to beat Canterbury by 6
Waikato Team to Play Canterbury
Trent Renata, Henry Speight, Jackson Willison, Sam Christie, Tim Mikkelson, Stephen Donald, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Alex Bradley, Marty Holah, Liam Messam, Romana Graham, Toby Lynn, Nathan White (captain), Marcel Cummings-Toone, Toby Smith.
Reserves: Vance Elliot, Ben May, Matt Vant Leven, Zak Hohneck, Brendon Leonard, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Declan O’Donnell, Ted Tauroa.
Canterbury Team to Play Waikato
Sean Maitland, Telusa Veainu, Robbie Fruean, Ryan Crotty, Patrick Osborne, Tyler Bleyendaal, Willie Heinz, Nasi Manu, George Whitelock (captain), Ash Parker, Luke Romano, Nepo Laulala, Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett.
Reserves: Paul Ngauamo, Joe Moody, Luke Katene, Brendon O’Connor, Takerei Norton, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl, Andrew Olorenshaw.
Sunday, September 5, 2011 at 5:30pm Manawatu v Hawke’s Bay Palmerston North
RugbyFix Pick: MANAWATU to beat Hawke’s Bay by 3
Manawatu Team to Play Hawkes Bay
1. Grant Polson, 2. Rob Foreman, 3. Ma’afu Fia, 4. Reece Robinson, 5. Michael Fitzgerald, 6. Nick Crosswell (capt), 7. Doug Tietjens, 8. James Oliver, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Aaron Cruden, 11. Junior Tomasi Cama, 12. Frank Bryant, 13. Lewis Marshall, 14. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 15. Craig Clare.
Reserves: 16. Bryn Templeman, 17. Jared Brock, 18. Fraser Stone, 19. Callum Gibbins, 20. Isaac Thompson, 21. Casey Stone, 22. Nehe Milne-Skudder, 23. David Te Moana or Peni Kaufusi.
Hawkes Bay Team to Play Manawatu
1. Kas Lealamanua, 2. Hikairo Forbes, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 4. Brodie Retallick, 5. Bryn Evans (capt), 6. Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 7. Adam Bradey, 8. Karl Lowe, 9. Chris Eaton, 10. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 11. Gillies Kaka, 12. Andrew Horrell, 13. Tua Saseve, 14. Richard Buckman, 15. Mark Jackman.
Reserves: 16. Danny Logan, 17. Brendon Edmonds, 18. Maselino Paulino, 19. Hugh Reed, 20. Isaac Paewai, 21. Sinoti Sinoti, 22. Tino Nemani, 23. Jody Allen.