8 Aug 2011

ITM Cup contenders taking shape

6:26 am on 8 August 2011

Round seven of domestic rugby's ITM Cup wrapped up yesterday with Auckland beating North Harbour 29-13 in the battle of the bridge in Albany, keeping the blue in whites in touch with the Premiership frontrunners.

Auckland now lie in third place on 16 points, four behind leaders Bay of Plenty, who suffered their first loss of the season going down 30-23 to Championship side Northland and one behind second placed Canterbury who beat Tasman 36-32 in Blenheim.

Taranaki round out the Premiership top four on 15 points after being pipped 15-10 by Championship leaders Manawatu in Palmerston North.

Hawkes Bay are second in the Championship one point behind the Turbos after trouncing Hurricanes big brothers Wellington 40-20 in Napier, while Northland are fourth in the Championship on 13 points, two behind Otago who remain third despite losing the deep south derby 19-12 to Southland.

Waikato and Counties Manukau remain third from bottom in the Premiership and Championship respectively after the mooloo edged the Steelers 22-15 at a Sodden Pukekohe Stadium.