Preview: Waikato v Taranaki

Getty Images

Friday, October 11, 2013    Getty Images

HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 77, Waikato 41, Taranaki 30, Drawn 6

LAST TIME: Taranaki 10 lost to Waikato 46 (RS) at Yarrow Stadium

WALKING WOUNDED: Injury to first five-eighths Wharenui Hawera miss out with Sam Christie moving in one position to fill the gap. Taranaki have also changed their first five Beaudein Waaka due to injury. Frazier Climo, about to embark on a contract with Llanelli at the end of October will take his place.

FORM: Waikato has had a forgettable season, not helped by losing the Ranfurly Shield to Otago early on. It had a chance to regain it but were well beaten by Counties Manukau 25-37. They did manage a 42-24 win over Auckland and last weekend beat Bay of Plenty 28-25 but the 28-64 thumping by Tasman reflected the season it has been. Taranaki have been no better. They too, were thumped by Counties Manukau 7-44 and while having wins over Hawke's Bay (23-10) and Bay of Plenty (21-3), their two most recent outings have seen them lose to Manawatu (6-12) and Tasman (20-27).

WE THINK: Both teams have the incentive to finish an unfortunate season for both with the prospect of a win. There is also the Ryan Wheeler Trophy to play for. Home advantage is likely to be a significant factor in this game and more than Taranaki, Waikato has shown the ability to turn it on when the occasion demands as Auckland will attest. Waikato by 5.


1. Toby Smith, 2. Brayden Mitchell, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 4.Whetu Douglas,5. Sam Kilgour, 6. Rory Grice, 7. Zak Hohneck, 8. Adam Burn, 9. Brad Weber, 10.Sam Christie, 11.Semisi Masirewa, 12. Jackson Willison (c), 13. Save Tokula, 14.Kylem O'Donnnell, 15. Trent Renata.

Substitutes: 16. Vance Elliott, 17. Paul Alo-Emile, 18. Josh Tyrell, 19. Zane Kapeli, 20.Jono Armstrong, 21. Wharenui Hawera, 22.Joe Perawiti.

Taranaki: 1.Sione Lea, 2. Timo Tutavaha, 3. Ryan Cocker, 4.Jarrad Hoeata, 5.Kane Barrett, 6.Berny Hall, 7.Doug Tietjens, 8.Blade Thomson, 9.Chris Smylie, 10.Frazier Climo, 11.Jackson Ormond, 12.Isaia Tuifua, 13.Seta Tamanivalu, 14.Andre Taylor, 15.Kurt Baker.

Replacements: 16.Rhys Marshall, 17. Carl Carmichael, 18. James Broadhurst, 19.Mitchell Crosswell, 20.Jamison Gibson-Park, 21.Daniel Brooks, 22.Ope Peleseuma.