The dark horse in the Premiership will be..?
Success will help breed success for the union. Momentum will be North Harbour’s greatest ally and all the right moves have been made in the off-season to build on winning the Championship in 2016.
New coach Tom Coventry is a sage acquisition and he knows success having assisted Dave Rennie in the Chiefs’ back-to-back Super Rugby titles.
Whilst not dominating the lower tier, there were drastic improvements in the Harbour pack and ominously, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti has been the Blues’ best forward this season.
Shaun Stevenson is a brilliant signing at this stage in his career and old-timer Jarrad Hoeata will hit the ground running in a unit that has renewed self-belief after decades of glass-ceiling thinking and playing.
If the likes of Bryn Gatland, Sione Mafileo, Brandon Nansen and Murphy Taramai continue to improve, there are more than a few upsets coming.