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ITM Cup Preview: Tasman v Hawke's Bay

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

VENUE & TIME: Lansdowne Park, Blenheim, Thursday August 12, 19.35 NZT.

HEAD TO HEAD: Played 3 – Tasman 1, Hawke’s Bay 2.

LAST TIME: August 28, 2009 (Napier) – Hawke’s Bay 28-26 Tasman.

LAST TIME AT VENUE: August 23, 2008 – Tasman 6-41 Hawke’s Bay.

MATCH ODDS: NZ TAB (Tuesday): Tasman $2.75, Hawke’s Bay $1.40.

WALKING WOUNDED: Neither team had bad news on the injury front this week; Tasman has named both Glen Gregory and Afeleki Pelenise in the starting side after each battled niggles last week. Hawke’s Bay gets Anthony Perenise and Daniel Kirkpatrick back from injury and Israel Dagg is available after All Black duties have kept him away recently.

FORM:

SEASON TO DATE:
Tasman
Round 1: Lost to Wellington 11-20
Round 2: Lost to Taranaki 11-33

SEASON TO DATE:
Hawke’s Bay
Round 1: Drew with Canterbury 23-23
Round 2: Lost to Bay of Plenty 11-30

Neither team has impressed this year and both have had their battles getting across the try-line. Tasman has lost twice, with the defeat to Taranaki as comprehensive as it looks on paper. Hawke’s Bay was hammered by Bay of Plenty last week, with the Steamers dominating all areas after halftime to pile on four tries and run up a score.

WHO'S HOT: Both sides have more promise that performance just at the moment. Poutasi Luafutu can be a damaging runner if given the opportunity but he has not been given too many so far. The same applies to the dangerous Tasman back three, with Robbie Malneek and Blair Cook two players who have impressed over a few seasons now. Karl Lowe is another looking for more play to run his way, but the biggest interest will probably be in Hawke’s Bay’s two young All Black backs, Israel Dagg and Zac Guildford. Allowed any room at all, these two can tear a match open in minutes and they seem to work far better as a tandem rather than as individuals. The Magpies will, therefore, be trying to create that space that could allow the pair to win the match.

WE THINK: Although neither team has played well at all this season, we think Hawke’s Bay has too many guns for Tasman. That said, we don’t think the Magpies are all that confident at the moment and so would go for a 10-15 point margin.

TEAMS:

Tasman: 1. Sam Prattley, 2. Francis Smith, 3. Fai Mika, 4. Jarrod Aberhart, 5. Chris Jack (captain), 6. Glen Gregory, 7. Jonathan Poff, 8. Poutasi Luafutu, 9. Steve Alfeld, 10. James Marshall, 11. Afeleki Pelenise, 12. Tom Marshall, 13. Kade Poki, 14. Blair Cook, 15. Robbie Malneek.

Reserves: 16. Vernon Fredericks, 17. Hamish Cochrane, 18. Anthony Elisala, 19. Shane Christie, 20. Kaide Whiting, 21. Sione Holani, 22. James Kamana.

Hawke’s Bay: 1. Anthony Perenise, 2. Hikawera Elliot, 3. Clint Newland, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Ross Kennedy, 6. Michael Johnson, 7. Karl Lowe, 8. Mike Coman, 9. Kahn Fotuali’i, 10. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 11. Zac Guildford, 12. Jason Shoemark (captain), 13. Star Timu, 14. Richard Buckman, 15. Israel Dagg.

Reserves: 16. Eugene Smith, 17. Kas Lealamanua, 18. Leighton Price, 19. Grant Webb, 20. Chris Eaton, 21. Andrew Horrell, 22. Sinoti Sinoti.

REFEREE: Kane McBride