PREVIEW: Auckland v Northland
Thursday, August 25, 2016 allblacks.com Getty Images
Games played: 115
Wins: Auckland 78, Northland 32
Last match: Auckland 64, Northland 21 (2015)
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.
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.
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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.
#TGIF because Friday means GAME DAY! We host @RugbyNorthland tonight at Eden Park. Tickets from @Ticketmaster_NZ pic.twitter.com/VOfRZTDAo5— Auckland Rugby (@AucklandRugby) August 25, 2016
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