This year’s Hawkes Bay team looks a very strong one. They kick their campaign off this Sunday in Invercargill against a Southland side led by ex Bay player Tony Lamborn.
Most people would suggest an easy victory for the Bay, but let’s hope the Bay players don’t think that. On paper yes you would think so, but Southland are a dogged team especially in Invercargill.
Where this could be won is whether Southland can continually turn back the pressure this Bay team will apply to them. Southland by all reports played well in there pre season game against Otago, but you can’t judge a team on that. This is the real deal.
Hawkes Bay will field effectively a Super Rugby side, and while I would expect Southland to be all fire and brimstone early on, I would also expect the Bay to over power them, especially in the second half with the impact the Bay have off the bench.
I never predict scores, but a Bay win that shakes off the rust with so many different franchise players coming back together, and a performance that befits the quality of player they have would be sufficient for now.