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PREVIEW: Auckland v Northland

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Thursday, August 25, 2016    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Auckland v Northland, Friday 26 August, 7.45pm, Eden Park, Auckland
Games played: 115
Wins: Auckland 78, Northland 32
Draw: 5
Last match: Auckland 64, Northland 21 (2015)

FORM
Northland have already bettered their entire performance from the 2015 season by picking up two bonus points against Manawatu last week. With their loose forward trio operating well, Northland showed they have a dangerous set of backs by crossing for four tries against the Turbos. Auckland couldn’t have started their season in any worse fashion by being trounced 43-3 against last year’s champions Canterbury in Christchurch.

SQUAD NEWS

Auckland have made four changes to their starting line up with the scintillating Lolagi Visinia returning to fullback and Calvary Fonoti moving into the midfield to replace Rieko Ioane who is with the All Blacks. In the pack, Kurt Eklund will start at hooker in place of Greg Pleasents-Tate and Akira Ioane will replace Joe Edwards in the unfamiliar position of open side flanker. Northland have made four changes to their starting line-up with Tamati Tua starting in the midfield, Dan Pryor and Jack Ram coming into the loose forwards and Jordan Olsen starting at hooker.



MOLI’S 50TH
After an outstanding season of Super Rugby with competition strugglers the Sunwolves, Liaki Moli has returned to Auckland and will celebrate his 50th match for the side against Northland. After debuting in 2010, Moli has proven to be a proficient lineout operator and powerful ball runner. Moli’s milestone may prove to be the extra inspiration Auckland need to turn around last week’s heavy loss to Canterbury.

BE THERE
Nothing beats being there, so GET TICKETS here and experience the action LIVE.

TEAMS
AUCKLAND: Melani Nanai, Lolagi Visinia, Vince Aso, Calvary Fonoti, Pryor Collier, Simon Hickey (c), Leon Fukofuka, Steven Luatua, Akira Ioane, Taleni Seu, Liaki Moli, Scott Scrafton, Isi Tu'ungafasi, Kurt Eklund, Sam Prattley.
Reserves: Greg Pleasants-Tate, Tom McHugh, Marcel Renata, Josh Kaifa, Joe Edwards, Jono Hickey, Latiume Fosita, Joe Ravouvou

NORTHLAND: Solomon Alaimalo, Monty Lama, Warren Dunn, Tamati Tua, Jone Macilai, Peter Breen, Sam Nock, Dan Pryor, Jack Ram, Michael Faleafa, Shane Neville, Josh Goodhue, Phil Kite, Jordan Olsen (c), Namatahi Waa.
Reserves: Ross Wright, Howard Sililoto, Matt Talaese, Josh Larsen, Matt Matich, Malcolm MacLeod, Dan Hawkins, Jordan Hyland.