Incredibly every game of the fifth round of the 2013 ITM Cup was won by the home side, despite any of the forms that were brought into the round.
Waikato, North Harbour and Taranaki all recorded surprise wins over the round. Notably, Taranaki beat Hawkes Bay, the former Ranfurly Shield holders, 23-10 in New Plymouth.
For the first time in recent weeks, the famed Ranfurly Shield stayed put for longer than a week, in Taranaki’s second fixture of the round, as they were hammered 44-7 to Counties Manukau. Before the round the game was labelled to be a real nail-biter, but it was in fact the complete opposite.
The round continued to get stranger as a number of expected walkovers were much closer than expected: league leaders Wellington continued their unbeaten run with a close 33-16 win over the Bay of Plenty and Canterbury, who are also unbeaten in second with a game in hand, overcame a very difficult Otago side 32-22.
Talking Rugby Union’s correspondent in New Zealand added his views: “Canterbury and Wellington are still the hottest property in the ITM Cup, both with unbeaten records.
“At the other end of the table the Southland Stags have hit rock bottom. Because of wins by both North Harbour and Manawatu, the Stags now sit stone-cold motherless last in the Championship.
“How the mighty have fallen!”
Southland have still only got the one win to their name, after another disappointing week where they lost 27-17 to Manawatu.