PREVIEW: Wellington v Bay of Plenty

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Thursday, September 15, 2016    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Form: Wellington have won three from four starts this season, although their last win, 28-27 over Counties Manukau came with a post-hooter penalty goal. Earlier, they beat Hawke's Bay 36-26 and North Harbour 21-17. Their loss was to Otago 21-44. Bay of Plenty finally got on the board with their 50-25 win over Northland in the last round having earlier lost to Taranaki 22-30, Counties Manukau 34-39 and Otago 32-33.

Played: 37

Wins: Wellington 30, Bay of Plenty 5, Drawn 2

Last match: Wellington 31 Bay of Plenty 13, Mt Maunganui 2015


Wellington: 1.Reg Goodes, 2.Leni Apisai, 3.Chris Baumann, 4.Mark Reddish, 5.Sam Lousi, 6.Brad Shields, 7.Greg Foe, 8.Hoani Matenga, 9.Tomasi Palu, 10.Jackson Garden-Bachop, 11.Wes Goosen, 12.Shaun Treeby, 13.Matt Proctor, 14.Jason Woodward, 15.Peter Umaga-Jensen.

Substitutes: 16.Valentine Meachen, 17.Vince Sakaria, 18.Joe Apikotoa, 19.James Blackwell, 20.Galu Taufale, 21.Sheridan Rangihuna, 22.Pakai Turia, 23.Malo Tuitama.

Bay of Plenty: 1.Solomona Sakalia, 2.James O'Reilly, 3.Jeff Thwaites, 4.Troy Callander, 5.Shahn Eru, 6.Henry Stowers, 7.Hugh Blake, 8.Joe Tupe, 9.Luke Campbell, 10.Dan Hollinshead, 11.Regan Ware, 12.Terrence Hepetema, 13.Nick Evemy, 14.Monty Ioane, 15.Isaac Te Aute.

Substitutions: 16.Joseph Royal, 17.Aidan Ross, 18.Pingi Tala'apitaga, 19.Culum Retillick, 21.Riki Tipuna, 22.Kelly Haimona, 23.Te Rangi Fraser

Squad Update: Wellington will be without utility forward Vaea Fifita who has suffered a rib injury which has seen Mark Reddish to start at lock. Greg Foe will play on the openside of the scrum while in the backline Jason Woodward has recovered from a back injury and will start on the wing.

Dan Hollinshead has recovered from concussion and will start at first five-eighths with Kelly Haimona dropping back to the bench. Also back from injury is Joseph Royal and he will be the back-up hooker. Prop Solomona Sakalia will start while Troy Callander and Shahn Eru will share the locking duties with Culum Retallick on the bench. Henry Stowers will start on the blindside flank with Jesse Parete dropping to the bench. Nick Evemy will start at centre with Ruki Tipuna also on the bench.

Key Players: Wellington need their forward pack to be a coherent unit throughout the 80 minutes, something that wasn't the case in their last outing. Bay of Plenty won't be easy to subdue either. They may have only one win but they pushed Premiership sides Taranaki and Counties Manukau close while Championship leader Otago only scrapped home by one point. Look for Bay of Plenty's Joe Tupe to have a fascinating struggle with opposing No.8 Hoani Matenga while having seen the side home in the last minute with his final penalty goal, first five-eighths Jackson Garden-Bachop will need to take early control for his backline. There is still a hint that Wellington mid-fields Shaun Treeby and Matt Proctor could yet be the catalysts for Wellington's attacks.