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Preview: Southland v Tasman

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Friday, August 16, 2013    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

LAST TIME: Southland 10 lost to Tasman 13, Blenheim 2012

WALKING WOUNDED: Southland have the notable absence through injury of hooker Jason Rutledge as their major concern, but are able to call on David Hall in his place. Tasman have lingering doubts over whether Bryce Heem will be able to start while in the reserves there is some concern over replacement back Mitchell Scott.

FORM: Host Southland had only one warm-up game, losing to Otago 28-47 while Tasman beat Otago 26-13 and beat a Cantabrians XV 61-7. And while warm-up games don't always mean a lot especially with Super Rugby players absent, it will have been a boost to Tasman to go into such a game with good form behind them. Both sides are having to cope with off-season losses. Missing from the Southland team are: Jimmy Cowan, Dion Bates, Nathan Hohaia, Hoani MacDonald, Brayden Mitchell, Kade Poki, Jason Rutledge, Alex Ryan, Matt Saunders and Mark Wells.

WE THINK: Southland are traditionally slow starters but with the need for a good start hit home to them last year they will be looking for home town advantage to apply. They do shape as a solid forward pack, in spite of the loss of personnel and in the loose they look especially dangerous. As always their hopes will rest on securing ball and taking chances. Tasman are not as well equipped in the tight/loose quarter as they have been in the past, but their enthusiasm has been one of their key attributes. However, we are picking the home team to be better placed to start well. Southland by 5

Teams:

Southland:1.Jamie Mackintosh, 2.David Hall, 3.Nick Barrett, 4.Josh Bekhuis, 5.Michael Fatialofa, 6.Hale T-Pole, 7.John Hardie, 8.Elliot Dixon, 9.Tayler Adams, 10.Scott Eade, 11.Tim Cornforth, 12.Cardiff Vaega, 13.Bryan Milne, 14.Keanu Kahukura, 15.Marty McKenzie.

Replacements: 16.Talemaitoga Tuapati, 17.Tukiterangi Raimona, 18.Craig Smith, 19.Naulia Dawai, 20.Nemia Kenatale, 21.Willis Halaholo, 22.Gareth Williams-Spiers.

Tasman:1.Tim Perry, 2.Quentin MacDonald, 3.Sila Puafisi, 4.Alex Ainley, 5.Joe Wheeler, 6.Liam Squire, 7.Shane Christie (captain), 8.George Stowers, 9.Mark Swanepoel, 10. Hayden Cripps, 11.James Lowe, 12.Andrew Symons, 13.Kieron Fonotia, 14.Bryce Heem, 15.Tom Marshall.

Replacements: 16.Francis Smith, 17.Siua Halanukonuka, 18.Tevita Cavubati, 19.Tevita Koloamatangi, 20.Kaide Whiting, 21.Billy Guyton, 22.Mitchell Scott.

Referee: Richard Kelly