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Farah Palmer Cup: Round 7 Preview

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allblacks.com     13 Oct 2017     Getty Images

Waikato sit in sixth place but could secure a semifinal spot with a historic first ever win over Auckland when they clash at Bell Park on Saturday. They have never defeated Auckland in 13 attempts and would need to make it a bonus point win to have a realistic shot at the playoffs. 

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The stakes are just as high in Christchurch where Wellington and Canterbury square off. A win would confirm a home semifinal for Canterbury while the Pride have to win if they are to have any hope of making the playoffs.

The final clash in the Premiership is an intriguing one between front runners Counties Manukau and fourth-placed Manawatu. A victory to the Heat will wrap up top spot while even a bonus point could be valuable for Manawatu with the race for the final playoff spot extremely tight.

In the Championship, Bay of Plenty have already wrapped up top spot and enjoy the bye this weekend. The Volcanix go straight into the final with the second and third-placed teams set to battle it out in a preliminary final.

Just one point separate Otago and North Harbour on the ladder. Regardless of the result, the two teams will meet again next week in the preliminary final but there is still plenty riding on this weekend’s result with the winner getting the psychological edge ahead of the knockout clash. The match will also be screened live on Sky Sport.

Hawke’s Bay and Tasman are both yet to get a win in 2017 but have the chance to break their duck when they clash in Nelson.

THE MATCH-UPS

Auckland Storm v Waikato

Saturday 14 October, 12pm at Bell Park, Auckland
Played: 13 (1999-2015)
Wins: Auckland 13, Waikato 0
Last match: Auckland 38 Waikato 12 (2015)

Canterbury v Wellington Pride
Saturday 14 October, 11.30am at Linfield Park, Christchurch
*This match will be live streamed on allblacks.com
Played: 20 (1999-2015)
Wins: Canterbury 11, Wellington 9
Last match: Wellington 32, Canterbury 18 (2015)

Manawatu Cyclones v Counties Manukau Heat

Saturday 14 October, 12pm at Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North
Played: 6 (2003-2015)
Wins: Manawatu 3, Counties Manukau 2, Draws 1
Last match: Counties Manukau 44, Manawatu 15 (2015)

Tasman Mako’s v Hawke’s Bay Tui’s

Saturday 14 October, 2.30pm at Trafalgar Park, Nelson
This will be the first match played between the sides

North Harbour Hibiscus v Otago Spirit

Sunday 15 October, 12.05pm at QBE Stadium, Albany
*This match will be broadcast on SKY
One previous match: North Harbour 39, Otago 7 (2016)