Rikki Swannell has been a sports broadcaster for 15 years, including six years as Sports Editor for Radio Sport/Newstalk ZB, covering various World Cups, Olympics and Commonwealth Games. Now a freelance commentator and reporter, she can be heard on rugby, netball, tennis, cricket and hockey for Sky Sport and on the Women's World Sevens Series.Read more exclusive columns
It’s all on in the Farah Palmer Cup - Swannell
Rikki Swannell 26 Sep 2018 Getty Images
Like the Mitre 10 Cup, this competition is a sprint. One bad day can be punished and, with just six weeks of round robin competition, dropping as few as two games can spell the end of any semifinal aspirations. For the Premiership teams, there’s another looming spectre; the possibility of relegation to the Championship.
At the other end of the Premiership, Canterbury and Counties Manukau have undoubtedly set themselves as the teams to beat and will line up this weekend in a rematch of last year’s final. After a hiccup against Wellington two weeks ago, Canterbury is really starting to roll. With workhorse forwards, Kendra Cocksedge dictating the tempo, a power house midfield and a well-drilled back three, the defending champions put a good Manawatu side away last week and, for me, are the competition favourites.
???? Get. Outta. My. Way!
Rate Dora Laupola's try for the Wellington Pride against Tasman out of ??...go! pic.twitter.com/RH578i6XFk— Black Ferns (@BlackFerns) September 24, 2018
It’s all on in the Championship in the final two weeks to determine the make-up of the top four, with just six points separating Wellington, Hawke’s Bay, North Harbour and Otago. The Pride has huge momentum, but Hawke’s Bay has been the biggest improver this season, reaping the benefit of the return of Krysten Cotterell and Emma Jensen to their home province, and the recruitment of former Counties lock Hanna Brough.
With two weeks and 12 games to go the semifinal picture is clear as mud. As it should be.
CURRENT STANDINGS | It's all locked up at the top of the premiership with @crfu and @CountiesRugby on 1?7? points each. What are your predictions for the final rounds?#Ours pic.twitter.com/HsmDOXqn9W— Black Ferns (@BlackFerns) September 25, 2018