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Heartland Championship: Round 2 preview

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Thursday, August 31, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Defending Meads Cup champions Wanganui were in imperious form last week and face an intriguing challenge from a Thames Valley side that picked up maximum points against East Coast. Wanganui will fancy a repeat of their 60-14 win over the Swamp Foxes last year but Thames Valley showed enough last week to indicate that they will pose a few problems for Wanganui.

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Mid Canterbury were equally impressive in dispatching Poverty Bay last week and will face a North Otago side smarting from a nail-biting loss to Horowhenua Kapiti. If Mid Canterbury can get past North Otago they will have some real belief that they are a genuine Meads Cup contender.

An intriguing clash is in store in Timaru where South Canterbury and King Country square off. Both teams suffered close losses last week and will be desperate to get their campaign underway.

A grudge derby will take place in Greymouth where West Coast host neighbours Buller. Both teams picked up wins last week and know that another victory will place them nicely at the top of the ladder after two rounds.

Poverty Bay had a hard time against Mid Canterbury in Ashburton last week and will be hoping to turn things around when they host Horowhenua Kapiti in Gisborne on Saturday afternoon.

Heartland Championship – week 2 fixtures

North Otago v Mid Canterbury
Saturday 2 September, 2pm at Whitestone Contracting Stadium, Oamaru
Played: 108 (1928-2016). North Otago wins: 36, Mid Canterbury wins: 69, Draws: 3
Last match: North Otago 36 Mid Canterbury 24 (2016)

Poverty Bay v Horowhenua Kapiti
Saturday 2 September, 2.30pm at More FM Rugby Park, Gisborne
Played: 35 (1951-2015). Poverty Bay wins: 23, Horowhenua Kapiti wins 11, Draws: 1
Last match: Horowhenua Kapiti 54 Poverty Bay 26 (2015)

South Canterbury v King Country
Saturday 2 September, 2.30pm at Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru
Played: 13 (1987-2016). South Canterbury wins 7, King Country wins: 6
Last match: South Canterbury 42 King Country 14 (2015)

Thames Valley v Wanganui
Saturday 2 September, 2pm at Paeroa Domain, Paeroa
Played: 33 (1923-2016). Thames Valley wins: 6, Wanganui wins: 27
Last match: Wanganui 60 Thames Valley 14 (2016)

Wairarapa Bush v East Coast

Saturday 2 September, 2.30pm at Trust House Memorial Park, Masterton
Played: 17 (1976-2016). Wairarapa Bush wins: 13, East Coast wins: 4
Last match: Wairarapa Bush 44 East Coast 22 (2016)

West Coast v Buller
Saturday 2 September, 2.30pm at Rugby Park, Greymouth
Played: 215 (1896-2016). West Coast wins: 102, Buller wins: 98, draws: 15
Last match: Buller 48 West Coast 0 (2016)