itm cupThe ITM Cup 2013 semi-finals were lopsided with the ITM Cup Premiership semi-finals being won in a canter by Wellington and Canterbury to set up a thrilling showdown in the final next weekend. Both teams posted huge wins with Wellington beating Counties by 31 points and Canterbury thrashing Auckland by 30 points. The ITM Cup Championship semi-final between Tasman and Southland which was picked by many to be the biggest blowout of the weekend yielded a closer margin surprisingly (21 points), while the five point win by Hawke’s Bay against Otago was by far the closest finish.

Aren’t semi-finals supposed to be close?

Dry conditions and liberal refereeing of the rugby laws are helping plenty of tries to be scored. The problem with a seven team competition means that there can often be a substantial difference in class between first and fourth place teams.

Almost everyone picked Wellington, Canterbury and Tasman to win at home while only about one third of SuperBru tipsters picked Hawke’s Bay to beat Otago.

Morales would have to completely lose the plot to miss out on winning the Super Rugby Tips SuperBru conference, although rugby is a funny game.

There was so much exciting young talent on display across the semi-finals with Marty Banks and Ihaia West impressing me.  Some of the Canterbury players on display have since been named in the All Blacks squad to tour Japan and Europe, including Joe Moody, Luke Whitelock and Dominic Bird.

The final will see Tasman host Hawke’s Bay in the ITM Championship final, while Wellington hosts Canterbury in the ITM Cup Premiership final. Given that heaps of people leave Wellington on a holiday weekend and how people in the provinces get behind their ITM Cup team (since that is the only rugby they get to watch), then I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a bigger crowd to see The Tasman Makos play Hawke’s Bay, than is in the capital to watch Wellington against Canterbury.

How many ITM Cup semi-finals did you pick correctly? Did you get anywhere near the correct margins? Who are you picking to win the finals?

ITM Cup Semi-Finals Results

Wellington 41 – 10 Counties

Canterbury 56 – 26 Auckland

Tasman 49 – 28 Southland

Otago 24 – Hawke’s Bay 29