ITM Cup Preview: Bay of Plenty v Manawatu

Getty Images

Tuesday, September 7, 2010    Getty Images

VENUE & TIME: Bay Park Stadium, Mt Maunganui, Thursday September 9, 19.35 NZT.

HEAD TO HEAD: Played 28 – Bay of Plenty 17, Manawatu 9, drawn 2.

LAST TIME: April 28, 2009 (Palmerston North) – Manawatu 27-28 Bay of Plenty.

LAST TIME AT VENUE: These teams have not met at Mt Maunganui before.

MATCH ODDS: NZ TAB (Tuesday): Bay of Plenty $1.22, Manawatu $4.00.

WALKING WOUNDED: Both teams show several changes from recent matches, but by no means all are injury-enforced. Bay of Plenty is still without Luke Andrews, John Pareanga, Luke Braid and Lance MacDonald among others, while Manawatu skipper Grant Polson is another ruled out of this match.

Bay of Plenty
Round 2: Beat Hawke's Bay 30-11
Round 3: Lost to Auckland 6-11
Round 4: Lost to Taranaki 15-24
Round 5: Beat North Harbour 39-29
Round 6: Lost to Canterbury 9-28

Round 2: Lost to Canterbury 26-27
Round 3: Lost to Northland 8-77
Round 4: Lost to Counties-Manukau 14-35
Round 5: Lost to Hawke's Bay 9-17
Round 6: Beat Wellington 36-24

Bay of Plenty got more thrills off the field than on last week, since the players were caught in the middle of the Christchurch earthquake early on Saturday morning. A few hours beforehand they had been ground down by the red-and-blacks in a match where one team took its chances and the other didn't. Although the final scoreline was 9-28, the Bay had several opportunities to get closer but the precise finishing required wasn't there when it really mattered. Manawatu had plenty to get excited about after a good all-round effort was capped when Asaeli Tikoirotuma played the percentages, grabbed a loose pass and ran it back 50m for the try that capped the Turbos first win of the year and first over Wellington since 1989. Manawatu was value for all five points, as they gave the fancied Lions a bashing in the tough stuff and ran hard and with a purpose their visitors couldn't match.

WHO'S HOT: Bay skipper Colin Bourke is having his best and most consistent year so far, playing well every time he takes the field. Mike Delany is quickly getting back into form and showed some good touches at Christchurch, while Toby Arnold is an often under-rated, reliable player at fullback who also provides good attacking options. Manawatu would have been happy with everyone last week, but the loose forwards, in particular, did extremely well and Hamish Gosling has been a prominent member of the trio all year. Halfback Aaron Smith is another having a very good year, while Frank Bryant, not long returned from injury, was perhaps the star of the show with a number of telling breaks, some good distribution and plenty of punishing defence.

WE THINK: Manawatu will have gained a ton of confidence from its win against Wellington and matches between these sides are normally close, but we're going for Bay of Plenty by a few points. The main rationale for this call is that the Steamers simply must win and we feel will have just enough to get across the line at home.


Bay of Plenty: 1. Joe Savage, 2. Daniel Perrin, 3. Tristan Moran, 4. Aiden Kuka, 5. Culum Retallick, 6. Tanerau Latimer, 7. Sam Cane, 8. Colin Bourke (captain), 9. Chad Tuoro, 10. Mike Delany, 11. Jason Hona, 12. Grant McQuoid, 13. Corey Aporo, 14. Lelia Masaga or Ben W Smith, 15. Toby Arnold.

Reserves: 16. Simon Chisholm, 17. James McGougan, 18. Luke Katene, 19. Solomon King, 20. Phil Burleigh, 21. Daniel Waenga, 22. Smith or Nick McCashin.

Manawatu: 1. Shane Kingsland, 2. Sean O'Connor, 3. Karl Haitana, 4. Michael Fitzgerald, 5. Reece Robinson, 6. Hamish Gosling, 7. James Oliver, 8. Mitchell Crosswell, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Isaac Thompson, 11. Lote Raikabula, 12. Frank Bryant (captain), 13. Hadleigh Parkes, 14. Shannon Paku, 15. Craig Clare.

Reserves: 16. Rob Foreman, 17. Donal McNamara, 18. Fraser Stone, 19. Doug Tietjens or Bertus Mulder, 20. Karl Bryson, 21. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 22. Casey Stone.

REFEREE: Garratt Williamson