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Preview: Bay of Plenty v Hawke's Bay

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Saturday, August 24, 2013    Sportal.co.nz    Gettys

LAST TIME: Hawke’s Bay 42 def Bay of Plenty 41, Round 9, 2012 at Napier.

WALKING WOUNDED: Steamers coach Kevin Schuler has made three changes to his starting line-up.

Pingi Talapitaga is in at tighthead prop for the injured Josh Hohneck, while Blues player Culum Retallick is in at lock for the injured Tim Bond.

The only change to the backline sees Dave Thomas in on the right wing for place of Tino Nemani. Meanwhikle, hooker Kalem Chan Boon, lock Keepa Mewett and winger Junior Tofa-Va’a have come into the side to take their places on a seven man bench.

Meanwhile, Hawke’s Bay have made just one personnel change to their starting line-up, with hooker Ged Robinson pushing Ash Dixon to the bench.

FORM: Bay of Plenty were disappointed to lose one of two games against Championship sides that kick off their season, going down by three points against Otago last week.

With games against Auckland, Canterbury, Wellington, Taranaki and Southland scheduled in coming weeks, the Steamers can likely ill-afford to drop what will be their first home game this week.

Conversely, Hawke’s Bay could not have started their season better. They started slow but eventually hit their straps and thrashed Manawatu 45-18 on the road.

WE THINK: Bay of Plenty has to find something more than it has shown so far, or it could be a long night.

Despite the Magpies' status in the second tier division, the Steamers would be silly to get complacent in this one.

It's also forecast to get pretty cold, so accuracy will be essential or the visiting loosies will have a fine old time.

It's hard to pick Bay of Plenty; even if they're angry with themselves after their last effort, they're facing a team that looks to be bolting out of the blocks.

It's likely Hawke’s Bay will be THE Bay this year, and they could have ten points or so in hand.

Hawke’s Bay by 12.

TEAMS:
Hawke's Bay: 1. Brendon Edmonds, 2. Ged Robinson, 3. Max Lahiff, 4. Michael Allardice, 5. Mark Abbott, 6. Mike Coman (c), 7. Brendon O’Connor, 8.Mark Atkins, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Ihaia West, 11. Zac Guildford, 12. Adam Bradey, 13. Richard Buckman, 14. Telusa Veainu, 15. Gillies Kaka.

Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon, 17. Jody Allen, 18. Johan Schoonbee, 19. Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 20. Tony Lamborn, 21. Chris Eaton, 22. Regis Lespinas.

Bay of Plenty: 1. Kane Hames, 2. Joe Royal, 3. Pingi Talapitaga, 4. Culum Retallick, 5. Josh Sole, 6. Carl Axtens, 7. Beau Robinson, 8. Joe Tupe, 9. Samisoni Fisilau, 10. Willie Ripia (c), 11. Kimami Sitauti, 12. Brett Mather, 13. Kendrick Lynn, 14. Dave Thomas, 15. Steve Honey.

Reserves: 16. Kalem Chan-Boon, 17. Albert Anae, 18. Keepa Mewett, 19. Matt Clutterbuck, 20. Josh Hall, 21. Sam Beard, 22. Junior Tofa-Va’a.