ITM Cup Preview: Bay of Plenty v Auckland

Getty Images

Thursday, August 12, 2010    Getty Images

VENUE & TIME: Bay Park Stadium, Mt Maunganui, Saturday August 14, 14.35 NZT.

HEAD TO HEAD: Played 56 – Bay of Plenty 11, Auckland 45.

LAST TIME: August 30, 2009 (Auckland) – Auckland 29-14 Bay of Plenty.

LAST TIME AT VENUE: August 3, 2007 – Bay of Plenty 3-41 Auckland.

MATCH ODDS: NZ TAB (Tuesday): Bay of Plenty $1.87, Auckland $1.87.

WALKING WOUNDED: Jason Hona is the only Bay of Plenty player not considered after last week but there has been some juggling with Luke Braid, Phil Burleigh and Lelia Masaga promoted to the run-on XV after strong efforts off the bench at Napier. Auckland made one forced change, with Chay Raui missing this week with a strained pectoral muscle. He’s replaced by Dave Thomas.


Bay of Plenty
Round 1: Lost to Waikato 10-13
Round 2: Beat Hawke’s Bay 30-11

Round 1: Beat North Harbour 36-14
Round 2: Lost to Waikato 18-21

Both teams turned their first-round form around, which pleased Bay of Plenty but did little for Auckland’s peace of mind. The Steamers won the Bay battle decisively, turning in a blistering second half effort and scoring five tries to one in an eye-opening performance. Auckland coulda, shoulda, didn’t win against Waikato after leading into the last minute but a scrumbase error and some good Waikato control led to Dwayne Sweeney crossing for a winning try after the siren following a well-worked back move.

WHO'S HOT: After his defensive heroics in week one, Colin Bourke also showed his attacking prowess in round two and his individual try was one only a classy player could score. Luke Braid had an excellent match on the flank, doing a lot of good work at the breakdown, while Toby Arnold’s contribution from fullback is often overlooked. Auckland loose forwards Peter Saili and Onosai’i Auva’a, both try-scorers last week, will be the men charged with keeping Bourke and Braid under control and both will need to be in top form in what promises to be a compelling loose forward battle. With the tricky winds often encountered at Bay Park Stadium, Matt Berquist’s ability to land his goals will be crucial to the outcome of this game.

WE THINK: This appeals as one of the best of a good card this week, between two sides that harbour top four aspirations. There’s little between them except in one area, and Auckland’s better goal-kicking is the reason we’re going for them to win a close contest, although Bay of Plenty won’t be far away at the end.


Bay of Plenty: 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. John Pareanga, 3. James McGougan, 4. Luke Andrews, 5. Culum Retallick, 6. Luke Braid, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 8. Colin Bourke (captain), 9. Taniela Moa, 10. Phil Burleigh, 11. Lance MacDonald, 12. Grant McQuoid, 13. Brett Mather, 14. Lelia Masaga, 15. Toby Arnold.

Reserves: 16. Simon Chisholm, 17. Joe Savage or Tristan Moran, 18. Aidan Kuka, 19. Sam Cane or Solomon King, 20. Chad Tuoro, 21. Daniel Waenga, 22. Ben W Smith.

Auckland: 1. Tevita Mailau, 2. Tom McCartney, 3. Charlie Faumuina, 4.Kurtis Haiu, 5. Andrew van der Heijden, 6. Onosai’i Auva’a, 7. Daniel Braid, 8. Peter Saili, 9. Toby Morland, 10. Matt Berquist, 11. Dave Thomas, 12. Jamie Helleur, 13. Ben Atiga, 14. Atieli Pakalani, 15. Brent Ward.

Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon, 17. Pauliasi Manu, 18. Liaki Moli, 19. Chris Lowery, 20. Brenton Helleur, 21. Ash Moeke, 22. Charles Piutau.

REFEREE: Josh Noonan