ITM Cup Preview: Hawke's Bay v Taranaki

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Friday, September 24, 2010    Getty Images

HEAD TO HEAD: Played 46 – Taranaki 17, Hawke’s Bay 23, drawn 6. LAST TIME: August 15, 2009 (New Plymouth) – Taranaki 24-24 Hawke's Bay. LAST TIME AT VENUE: September 4, 2008 – Hawke's Bay 18-14 Taranaki. WALKING WOUNDED: Hawke's Bay is showing a few changes from the team that faced Wellington, most notably in the front row where both Clint Newland and Anthony Perenise are missing this week. The experiment with Kahn Fotuali'i is being persisted with, while Zac Guildford moves to fullback in an effort to allow him more effective access to the game. Taranaki has named an unchanged starting pack from the Canterbury game, but Tyson Keats and Kurt Baker sit this one out, with a familiar face in Scott Ireland making a return to the lineup in No 15. FORM: PAST FIVE Hawke’s Bay: Round 4: Lost to Southland 20-23 Round 5: Beat Manawatu 17-9 Round 6: Lost to Otago 16-17 Round 7: Drew with Waikato 27-27 Round 8: Lost to Wellington 13-17 PAST FIVE Taranaki: Round 4: Beat Bay of Plenty 24-15 Round 5: Beat Otago 25-15 Round 6: Lost to Auckland 13-27 Round 7: Beat Counties-Manukau 28-19 Round 8: Beat Canterbury 31-20 Hawke’s Bay’s woes continue as their dismal season stutters along, but a quick look at the last five matches shows they’ve collected competition points every time; the only problem is that it has normally been one. For whatever reason the Magpies, who used to be so good at finishing over the top of teams, can’t get that last vital score and it’s been a season-long problem. Taranaki, on the other hand, keep getting better and that win last week was their best effort of the year. Despite letting Canterbury get off to a flying start, Taranaki gradually took charge and certainly took advantage of any handling errors, repeatedly turning Canterbury around and scoring several times off mistakes. They also finished more strongly, which hasn’t happened nuch this year and seeing it won’t please the other 13 sides. WHO'S HOT: Hikawera Elliot gave the All Black selectors another “Don’t forget me” message last week with a fine display. He was probably the most dangerous attacker in a Magpie jersey, as well as accurate at the lineout and strong round the field. Kahn Fotuali’i had a solid game at first-five without setting Wellington afire, while Richard Buckman will have learned a lot from Hosea Gear and still managed to kick for goal accurately. Taranaki had any number of standouts against Canterbury, with loose forwards Ben Souness and Jarrad Hoeata causing mayhem in the midfield with some aggressive tackling. Both got on the scoresheet as well, finishing tries in good style. Jayden Hayward, who looked so promising in his first season but then faltered for a while, is coming back to his best form and that makes him a dangerous customer in midfield. WE THINK: Although these teams traditionally bash it out and few games are decided by many points, we think Taranaki will do this easily enough on Saturday. The amber-and-blacks are just playing a couple of levels above Hawke’s Bay at the moment, so we’ll suggest they might have 10-15 points in hand at the end. TEAMS: Hawke’s Bay: 1. Kas Lealamanua, 2. Hikawera Elliot, 3. Jody Allen, 4. Bryn Evans, 5. Ross Kennedy, 6. Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 7. Karl Lowe, 8. Mike Coman, 9. Chris Eaton, 10. Kahn Fotuali’i, 11. Richard Buckman, 12. Ryan McLeod, 13. Jason Shoemark (captain), 14. Sinoti Sinoti, 15. Zac Guildford. Reserves: 16. Eugene Smith, 17. Josh Keys, 18. Leighton Price, 19. Michael Johnson, 20. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 21. Gillies Kaka, 22. Mark Jackman. Taranaki: 1. Shane Cleaver, 2. Mahonri Schwalger, 3. Michael Bent, 4. James Broadhurst, 5. Craig Clarke (captain), 6. Jarrad Hoeata, 7. Chris Walker, 8. Ben Souness, 9. Brett Goodin, 10. Willie Ripia, 11. David Smith, 12. Jayden Hayward, 13. George Pisi, 14. Andre Taylor, 15. Scott Ireland. Reserves: 16. Timo Tutavaha, 17. Carl Carmichael, 18. Kane Barrett, 19. Samuela Vunisa, 20. Kaylem O’Donnell, 21. Beauden Barrett, 22. Kurt Baker. REFEREE: Keith Brown