The Magpies have lost the last two ITM Cup Championship finals, and Brendon O’Connor will be doing everything in his power to make sure that the trend doesn’t continue.
Hawkes Bay has been an expectant side this season with the return of Zach Guilford and the full time services of several Super Rugby players including Ihaia West.
Losing three straight grand finals would be devastating, especially considering the fact that the Ranfurly Shield has also just left Magpie country. With the services of Brad Weber soon to be available, the Bay would love nothing more than having one of the best halfbacks in the world playing in the top division.
Both the Bay, and their opponents Wellington have a both a lot to gain and much to lose depending on the result tonight.
After being relegated down a division, Wellington has shown a marked improvement in 2015, capturing the statistic of being the best defensive side in the competition. Defense wins titles, and even with the strike power of Ardie Savea who will have a chip on his shoulder for not performing when it mattered most during the Hurricanes near championship run, Wellington still find themselves in a position of doubt.
Wellington have a habit of losing the big games in ITM Cup rugby and it has occurred in finals before, namely against Waikato and Canterbury in years gone.
Hawkes Bay is under more pressure, they must win tonight to gain some sort of belief that can go all the way. In front of a packed house at McLean Park, nothing more than victory will be required.