PREVIEW: Otago v Northland
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 allblacks.com Getty Images
Wins: Otago 34, Northland 10
Last match: Otago 54 Northland 36 (2015)
Otago have been one of the most impressive teams of the opening two rounds of the Mitre 10 Cup with two equally impressive and contrasting wins. In round one, Otago came from behind to beat Southland 40-17 before a first half blitz got them in against Wellington 44-21. Northland were impressive in their first up 34-27 loss to Manawatu before going down to Auckland 37-15 last week.
Over the first two rounds Northland have shown that they are a much improved force with plenty of attacking threats across the park. With the new breakdown laws giving the backline cleaner ball and a dry surface under the roof in Dunedin, the Northland back three of Solomon Alaiamalo, Jone Macilai and Waisea Lawebuka will pose a big threat to Otago out wide. For Otago, young first five-eighth Fletcher Smith is a star on the rise while Matt Faddes will be looked at for his penetrative abilities in the midfield.
LOOSE FORWARD DEBUTANT
An injury to the impressive openside flanker James Lentjes has opened the door for Sione Teu to make his debut for Otago. Teu is noted as a strong ball runner at club level and will need to back up Lentjes impressive tackling stats in his debut match. Lentjes leads the Mitre 10 Cup in tackles made with an impressive 33 tackles over the opening two rounds.
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Otago: 15: Michael Collins 14: Fa’asiu Fuatai 13: Matt Faddes 12: Sio Tomkinson 11: Jack Wilson 10: Fletcher Smith 9: Josh Walden 8: Paul Grant (C) 7: Naulia Dawai 6: Sione Teu 5: Blair Tweed 4: Tom Franklin 3: Hisa Sasagi 2: Sam Anderson-Heather 1: Aki Seiuli
16: Liam Coltman 17: Craig Millar 18: Donald Brighouse 19: Tom Rowe 20: Hame Toma 21: Kaide Whiting 22: Scott Eade 23: Tony Ensor
Northland: 15: Solomon Alaimalo 14: Waisea Lawebuka 13: Warren Dunn 12: Jordan Hyland 11: Jone Macilai 10: Peter Breen 9: Sam Nock 8: Matt Matich 7: Jack Ram 6: Kara Pryor 5: Shane Neville 4: Josh Larsen 3: Phil Kite 2: Matt Moulds 1: Howard Silioto
16: Jordan Olsen 17: Namatahi Waa 18: Matt Talaese 19: Epineri Uluviti 20: Aorangi Stokes 21: Matty Marwick 22: Dan Hawkins 23: Tamati Tua
Tough game last night to retain the Mike Gibson memorial pic.twitter.com/XcjhyBipnw— Fletcher Smith (@FletcherSmith10) August 26, 2016
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