Preview: Canterbury v Manawatu
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 Sportal.co.nz Getty Images
WALKING WOUNDED: Colin Slade probably couldn't believe his misfortune as he was carried off yet another ground at the weekend. The rugby gods dealt the 11-Test All Black another cruel blow, this time a potential season-ending knee injury.
Manawatu coach Jason O'Halloran is expected to be untroubled by injuries when making his selections this week.
FORM: Canterbury suffered their first loss of the season when they travelled to the capital on Saturday.
The visitors were outscored three-tries-to-one and will be kicking themselves after they were unable to capitalise on a yellow card to Wellington flanker Ardie Savea and a red to wing Adam Hill.
Manawatu also ended a winning streak, albeit a brief one, when they went down against Otago.
Cullum Gibbins, Papa Wharewera, Nico Malo, Tevita Taufu'i and Leroy van Dam kept the Turbos in touch throughout the match but the six tries and four penalties they conceded had them on the wrong side of the ledger at full-time.
WE THINK: Canterbury will be plotting to avenge last week's rare loss and make a statement in their next outing.
Against Manawatu there's a good chance they'll do just that. While the Turbos have shown they can exploit flaws in the opposition defence with pace and high tempo, they won't get anything for free in this one.
Canterbury has the personnel to execute defensive systems that frustrate teams into making mistakes while providing sting on attack.
The only way to beat them is to bring more enthusiasm, be tactically sound and execute at the set-piece. That's where Manawatu are lacking. They currently have the worst success rate at the lineout - hence they kick in general play less than any other team.
When Dave Rennie's green machine did the unthinkable in 2008, it was their ability to keep Canterbury pinned inside their own half with deft punts by Matty James and Aaron Cruden.
This group of Manawatu players haven't shown the mental strength to build pressure on both sides of the ball for long periods and things get loose as the game wares on.
That's where the difference will be on Wednesday. Mistakes will take their toll on the Turbos but they probably won't go quietly.
The red and blacks rarely lose two on the trot, in fact they haven't done that since they lost the Ranfurly Shield in 2011. We expect them to hit back hard in this one Canterbury by 19.
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