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Match preview: Southland vs. Bay of Plenty

Photosport

Friday, September 23, 2005    allblacks.com    Photosport

It was a result that turned the province’s playoffs’ aspirations to dust.

While plenty of work remains if Southland are to climb four places from their current eighth position to claim a semifinal slot this time, co-coach Simon Culhane hasn’t forgotten Bay of Plenty’s deed from 2003.

“Yeah, I suppose you could say we owe them one. They spanked us up there last year too, so there’s a bit to put right,” Culhane said.

“It’s not so much about previous years though but more about here and now and this team. The boys were disappointed by the way they played last weekend in Wellington. They’re capable of much better than that and know it. While it didn’t put us right out of the semifinal race, there’s a fair bit of hurt pride down here at the moment and the boys are dead keen to put it right.”

Pride aside, Southland emerged relatively unscathed from last Saturday’s 12-53 drilling in Wellington. “Maybe things had gone a little too well over the previous couple of weeks. Perhaps a bit of complacency crept in,” Culhane said.

“I’m not sure the reasons for it, but we let them (Wellington) take it to us, and they showed that they are the sort of side that can do a lot of damage if you let them dictate the game. It’s not the way we had been playing prior to that and I’d like to think that everyone will see a different team when we line up in front of our home fans again.”

Ticket sales have been strong for Southland’s penultimate home match of the campaign.

A semifinal appearance is out of reach for Bay of Plenty now, but they head south determined to show they are a better side than their results thus far in 2005 indicate.

The loss to North Harbour in Rotorua in the last round has cost Bay of Plenty the services of first-five-eighths Murray Williams, who broke his wrist. Williams had the bone operated on at the weekend but will not play again this season. The return to duty, via the bench, of second-five-eighths Allan Bunting is some compensation.

Teams
Otago: Craig Clare, Glen Horton, Neil Brew, Seilala Mapusua, Matt Saunders, Nick Evans, Chris Smylie, Grant Webb, Josh Blackie, Craig Newby (captain), James Ryan, Tom Donnelly, Carl Hayman, Jason Macdonald, Carl Hoeft. Reserves: Anton Oliver, Chris King, Filipo Levi, Alando Soakai, Toby Morland, Ryan Bambry, Jason Shoemark

Teams
Southland: Pehi Te Whare, Illy Delasau, Ben Smith, Jason Kawau, Watisoni Lotawa, Richard Apanui, Jimmy Cowan, Paul Miller, Tim Boys, Daniel Quate, Hoani Macdonald, Kane Thompson, Jayden Murch, Jason Rutledge, Clarke Dermody.
Reserves: David Hall, Craig Dunlea, Rees Logan, Ben Chisholm, Philip Dawson, Ryan Smith, Mana Harrison.

Bay of Plenty: Adrian Cashmore, David Johnston, Grant McQuoid, Rena Schuster, Anthony Tahana, Mike Delany, Kevin Senio, Colin Bourke, Nili Latu, Wayne Ormond (captain), Bernie Upton, Mark Sorenson, Ben Castle, Aleki Lutui, Simms Davison.
Reserves: John Pareanga, Taufa'ao Filise, Paul Tupai, Warren Smith, Charles Hubbard, Allan Bunting, Hayden Reid.

Southland v Bay of Plenty, Invercargill
Kick-off: Saturday at 7.35pm
Referee: Steve Walsh (North Harbour)
TAB odds: Southland $1.33, Bay of Plenty $3.10