Mitre 10 Cup: Canterbury ready for Tasman semi-final challenge

  • 19/10/2018

Canterbury coach Joe Maddock thinks Tasman deserve their status as favourites, heading into their Mitre 10 Cup semi-final on Friday.

The underdog tag is rare for Canterbury, which have won nine of the last 10 titles, including the last two against Tasman in the final.

Overall, the red-and-blacks have won 11 of 16 games played between the two Crusaders provinces, but they lost to the Mako in their opening match of the season back in August.

Both teams will field near full-strength sides, with Canterbury welcoming back All Blacks number eight Luke Whitelock.

"We've been building nicely from where we started the competition against Tasman a few months ago," said Maddock. "We've come a long way, so we're pretty happy with where the squad's at. 

"We know we under-performed in round one, and they were very good and deserved the win.

"Their only slip-up was against Auckland and they've got star players all over the park, so we'll have to be at our best to have a good crack."

Tasman are desperate to reach their third consecutive final, as they try to send departing head coach Leon MacDonald out as a champion.

The former All Black has been on the Mako coaching staff since 2010 and is leaving at the conclusion of the season to join the Blues Super Rugby franchise in an assistant coaching role.

Since MacDonald joined the side, he's helped take them from wooden-spooners to title contenders, while producing five All Blacks.

"He has been massive for the province over the last eight years and taking us from the bottom of the championship up to being involved in the playoffs in the premiership," said assistant coach Andrew Goodman.

"We want to send him out the best way possible." 

Tasman prop Wyatt Crockett made his return to the Mako, after spending the last 12 seasons contracted to Canterbury.

He said it would mean a lot to Nelson if they can win the title.

"It's been no secret that Tasman have been there or thereabout for the last few years, and we've got to go out there and play our best," he said.

"We can't worry about the past, this team is a different team and we think if we can play our best game, we have the skills to get the job done.

"It would mean everything. It's the Mako's third consecutive run into the finals.

"We're consistently up near the top and it is time we get one."


Join us at 7:30pm Friday night for live updates of the Tasman vs Canterbury Mitre 10 Cup premiership semi-final.