Match between table toppers Varsity and COB shapes as clash of the round
College Old Boys will find out how far their revival has come when they play competition front runners Varsity this weekend.
Perennial title contenders College made a wobbly start to the year, but since John Cruden took the reins mid season, they look like the ruthless COB sides of old, which should make Saturday's match at Massey University a real humdinger.
Despite the slow start, College sit second on the table, six points behind Varsity, who have been chugging along nicely since their upset loss to FOB-Oroua in the opening game.
College are defending the Challenge Cup and the students will rate themselves a good chance of taking the trophy.
Varsity won the first-round encounter comfortably 34-14.
Veteran COB halfback Karl Bryson is free to play again after being suspended for stomping in this match in the first round.
It's another derby day at Johnston Park, where Feilding will play Feilding Old Boys-Oroua.
Yellows have had a revival since they replaced coach Sean Bristow with Kelvin Tantrum three weeks ago, but it will be their toughest assignment under Tantrum so far when they play FOB-Oroua.
The Stags tested Varsity last weekend and will back themselves to do the season double over Feilding, having won 27-12 in the first round.
Yellows should be boosted by the return of prop Sean Rankin, who is back from playing in the Netherlands.
Rankin was meant to play last week, but his international clearance didn't come through in time.
Old Boys-Marist will fancy their chances of solidifying their place in the top four when they host Te Kawau.
A win for Old Boys-Marist will open the gap between them and fifth-placed FOB-Oroua and could put them into third spot.
Twice last year Te Kawau gave Old Boys-Marist a good test and even though Te Kawau were beaten 29-0 in the first round this year, they didn't think that was reflective of the game.
Even though Te Kawau got Te Atuarere Albert and Harrison Brewer back last week, they will probably have to wait another week or two until Ethan Woodmass and Liam Mitchell are back from Spain.
They should see Turbos lock Tom Parsons this weekend though.
Te Kawau were keeping up with the top four, but the Real Blokes' loss to Feilding last weekend cost them.
Freyberg and Linton Army will square off at Colquhoun Park in a match that could well decide who gets the wooden spoon.
Both sides are rooted to the bottom of the table, but the soldiers have a two-point lead over Freyberg.
Linton won the first-round clash 28-10, their only win so far and it's likely wins will be hard to come by for both teams for the rest of the season.
Linton though have been boosted by the return of halfback TeJay Oliver and dangerous outside back TamaToa Ropati, which gives Linton more attacking power.
But they could be without loose forward Jimmy Berghan, who injured his hamstring during the warm up before they played Old Boys-Marist last weekend.
Kia Toa have the bye so have the week off to lick their wounds after getting done by College last weekend.