No All Blacks, no problem: Top five sporting watches this weekend

By Alex McLeod

The All Blacks will not be lining up to sing the national anthem this weekend, so what other sport is on for us to watch? Photo / Photosport
The All Blacks will not be lining up to sing the national anthem this weekend, so what other sport is on for us to watch? Photo / Photosport

With the All Blacks taking a week-long break between their demolition of the Springboks and the upcoming Bledisloe Cup clash at Eden Park, the biggest fixture in New Zealand's sporting landscape is non-existent this weekend.

Fortunately, there are far more sporting contests for Kiwi sports fans to delve into than just the All Blacks, so here is a look at five of the top fixtures taking place over the weekend in the place of the All Blacks' absence from our TV screens.

Kiwis vs Kangaroos

When: 10pm, Saturday 15 October
Where: nib Stadium, Perth
How to watch: Live coverage of the match begins at 9:30pm on Sky Sport 2

Probably the biggest and most mouth-watering clash taking place this weekend is the rugby league test match between the Kiwis and the Kangaroos in Perth tomorrow night.

The Kangaroos are using the Four Nations warm-up test as a chance to stake a claim for the number one spot on the RLIF world rankings, as superstar Greg Inglis has publicly stated, while the Kiwis are looking to redeem themselves for a lacklustre performance in their 16-0 loss to the Australians in the Anzac Test back in May and make it four wins from their last five outings against their trans-Tasman rivals.

While Australia are to confirm their side to take on New Zealand later today, two new caps are set to make the international debuts for the Kiwis in this match, with David Kidwell - who is also taking part in his first Kiwis test as coach - naming Raiders wing Jordan Rapana and Warriors centre Solomone Kata in the starting side for the first time.

With nib Stadium sold out for the match, interest surrounding the test is very high on both sides of the Tasman, and the result should provide a good idea of which side has the advantage heading into the Four Nations in the UK.

Black Caps vs India

When: 9pm, Sunday 16 October
Where: Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium, Dharamsala
How to watch: Live coverage of the match begins at 8:50pm on Sky Sport 3

Probably the second biggest sporting fixture for New Zealanders this weekend is the first ODI of the Black Caps' five-match ODI series against India.

The Black Caps are coming off the back of conceding a dreadful 3-0 test series whitewash at the hands of the Indians, with the closest result coming in the form of a 178-run loss in Kolkata, and the New Zealanders will be coming out with a vengeance to redeem themselves for their shocker of a test series and come away from their tour of India with at least some success.

With that in mind, the Black Caps will be wanting to kick their ODI series off to the best start possible by grabbing a win over the hosts.

Silver Ferns vs Diamonds

When: 7:45pm, Saturday 15 October
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
How to watch: Live coverage of the match begins at 7:30pm on Sky Sport 3

The second trans-Tasman rivalry to feature on this list, the Silver Ferns will be looking to back up their impressive comeback win against the Diamonds in Launceston and take a 2-1 lead in the Constellation Cup heading into their fourth and final match in Invercargill on Thursday.

The series have been a rollercoaster ride thus far, with Australia kicking off with a 12-goal thumping over the New Zealanders in a 68-56 win in Sydney, before the Silver Ferns claimed a shock 53-51 win in Tasmania on Wednesday.

A win tomorrow night over the world champions in Auckland would be a solid achievement for the Kiwis, and would result in the New Zealanders taking an unassailable lead in the series, with the worst achievable series result being a draw.

Mitre 10 Cup

When: 7:35pm tonight - 4:35pm Sunday, 16 October
Where: Various locations across the country
How to watch: Live coverage of matches will be aired on Sky Sport 1 across the weekend

Although the All Blacks aren't playing, there is still Mitre 10 Cup action to be played this weekend in the final round before the Premiership and Championship semi-finals take place.

While the rugby still rolls on our screens despite the temporary departure of the All Blacks, many viewers will say the prospect of watching the Mitre 10 Cup as nowhere near as exciting as an All Blacks test.

These people should be ignored, and if the final round's opening two matches are anything to go by, the last minute fight for play-off spots should be thrilling and intense.

North Harbour and Tasman played out to an enthralling draw in Albany on Wednesday, and Taranaki defeated Auckland at the death in New Plymouth last night, and with upcoming matches pitting the likes of the Championship hopefuls Manawatu (who have Aaron Cruden running the cutter this weekend) and Otago, Premiership title contenders Canterbury and Counties Manukau, and northern rivals Northland and North Harbour against each other, there is bound to be no shortage of more thrilling and entertaining encounters before finals football kicks off.

English Premier League

When: 12:30am, Sunday 16 October - 8am, Tuesday 18 October
Where: Various locations across England
How to watch: Live and delayed coverage of matches will be aired on Bein Sports 1 across the weekend

The biggest and best domestic league is back in action this weekend following an international break, and there are some mouth-watering match-ups in store.

The weekend kicks off just after midnight on Sunday morning (NZT), with 2014/15 champions Chelsea, playing for the first time since signing a new mega deal with sports manufacturing powerhouses Nike, hosting their successors as title holders, Leicester City.

Three of the other 'big six' clubs are in action that morning, with Arsenal hosting Swansea, Tottenham travelling to West Brom, and league leaders Manchester City playing an impressive Everton outfit at the Etihad Stadium.

By far the biggest and most interesting match of the round takes place on Tuesday morning, however, with fierce rivals Manchester United and Liverpool facing off at Anfield, both sides eager to dent each other's hopes of a title or top-four run.

The only fixture on this list not to feature a New Zealand side, although All Whites skipper Winston Reid should be in action for the under-performing West Ham side in their away match against Crystal Palace on Sunday morning.

Weekend sporting calendar


7:35pm - Manawatu vs Otago, Palmerston North (Mitre 10 Cup)
11:30pm - Wildcats vs Breakers, Perth (NBL)


2:35pm - Counties Manukau vs Canterbury, Pukekohe (Mitre 10 Cup)
5:35pm - Hawkes Bay vs Bay of Plenty, Napier (Mitre 10 Cup)
7:35pm - Wellington vs Waikato, Wellington (Mitre 10 Cup)
7:45pm - Silver Ferns vs Australia Diamonds, Auckland (Constellation Cup)
10pm - Kangaroos vs Kiwis, Perth (Four Nations warm-up test)


12:30am - Chelsea vs Leicester, London (English Premier League)
3am - Arsenal vs Swansea, London; West Brom vs Tottenham, West Bromwich; Manchester City vs Everton, Manchester; Stoke vs Sunderland, Stoke-on-Trent; Bournemouth vs Hull, Bournemouth (English Premier League)
5:30am - Crystal Palace vs West Ham, London (English Premier League)
2:35pm - Tasman vs Southland, Nelson (Mitre 10 Cup)
4:35pm - Northland vs North Harbour, Whangarei (Mitre 10 Cup)
9pm - India vs Black Caps, Dharamsala (First ODI); Perth Glory vs Wellington Phoenix, Perth (A-League)


1:30am - Middlebrough vs Watford, Middlesbrough (English Premier League)
4am - Southampton vs Burnley, Southampton (English Premier League)


8am - Liverpool vs Manchester United, Liverpool (English Premier League)

- NZ Herald

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