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Preview: Taranaki v Tasman

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Saturday, October 5, 2013    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 8, Taranaki 7, Tasman 1

LAST TIME: Taranaki 49 beat Tasman 40, at Yarrow Stadium, 2012

WALKING WOUNDED: Taranaki lock Jarrad Hoeta was bracketed in the reserves pending a fitness test on Saturday. Not so much wounded as suspended lock Alex Ainley will be missing from the Tasman line-up which is notable for several key players being rested ahead of the play-offs campaign that lies ahead.

FORM: Taranaki's up-and-down form has continued and its most recent setback was a 6-12 loss to Manawatu. However, before that it beat Bay of Plenty 21-3 and before their 7-44 loss to Counties Manukau they beat Hawke's Bay 21-3. Tasman have been far more consistent and their most recent win, on Wednesday, was an impressive 64-28 win over Waikato. But they have also accounted for Northland 28-13, Hawke's Bay 18-9 and Otago 49-16 with their only loss in the last five games being to North Harbour 12-23.

WE THINK: Taranaki can't afford to take any risks although they appear clear of relegation worries but knowing Tasman have taken the chance to rest key players they have an opportunity to claim a win, something Tasman have found hard to achieve in the brief history between the two sides. However, so well are Tasman riding the crest of the wave there is likely to be plenty of enthusiasm from those gifted a start for the side. Taranaki have made some big calls with Jamison Gibson-Park benched while Andre Taylor has been moved to the wing. We think the Tasman momentum may be enough to see them add to their one win over Taranaki. Tasman by 6.

TEAMS

Taranaki: 1.Carl Carmichael, 2.Rhys Marshall, 3.Sione Lea, 4.Nemia Soqeta, 5.James Broadhurst, 6.Kane Barrett, 7.Doug Tietjens, 8.Blade Thomson, 9.Chris Smylie, 10.Beaudein Waaka, 11.Jackson Ormond, 12.Isaia Tuifua, 13.Seta Tamanivalu, 14.Andre Taylor, 15.Kurt Baker.

Replacements: 16.Timo Tutavaha, 17.Ryan Cocker, 18.Mitchell Crosswell, 19.Berny Hall/Jarrad Hoeta, 20.Jamison Gibson-Park, 21.Daniel Brooks, 22.Frazier Climo.

Tasman: 1. Tim Perry, 2. Quentin MacDonald, 3.Siua Halanukonuka, 4.Joe Wheeler, 5. Tevita Cavubati, 6.Tevita Koloamatangi, 7.Gary Redmond, 8.Vernon Fredericks, 9.Billy Guyton, 10. Hayden Cripps, 11. James Lowe, 12.Andrew Symons, 13.Bryce Heem, 14.Mitchell Scott, 15.Robbie Malneek.

Reserves: 16. Francis Smith, 17.Reuben Northover, 18.Liam Squire, 19.Shane Christie, 20.Mark Swanepoel, 21.Kieron Fonotia, 22.Tom Marshall.