PREVIEW: Waikato v Canterbury (RS)

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016    Getty Images

Match details: Waikato v Canterbury, 7.35pm Wednesday 28 September, FMG Stadium, Hamilton

Played: 50 (1929-2015)
Wins: Waikato 18, Canterbury 31, Draws 1
Last match: Canterbury 18 Waikato 17 in 2015
Biggest winning margin: Canterbury by 37 (47-10) in 2013

Aside from a shock 19-13 loss to Manawatu in week five, Canterbury have been flawless in 2016 with five wins confirming their place at the top of the Premiership ladder. Waikato are unbeaten from three Ranfurly Shield clashes at home but have also shown form away from Hamilton with a 35-32 win over Auckland in week four.

Waikato have made a host of changes from the side that lost to Counties Manukau with regular starters Jacob Skeen, Brian Alainu'uese and Jordan Manihera returning to the forward pack and Jordan Trainor coming in at fullback. Murray Iti will also start at openside flanker in place of the injured Mitch Jacobsen while Tau Koloamatangi and Sefo Kautai replace Latu Talakai and Josh Iosefa-Scott in the front row. The biggest change for Canterbury is the switch of fullback Jordie Barrett to second five-eighth in place of the injured Rob Thompson while Scott Barrett returns to lock in place of David McDurling.


Another chapter will be written into the proud Ranfurly Shield histories of Waikato and Canterbury tonight. For Waikato, a win will mean there is just one more challenge remaining before the ‘log of wood’ can be packed away for the summer. Despite dominating the Premiership over the past decade, Canterbury haven’t tasted Ranfurly Shield success since lifting the title from Southland in 2010. Victory in Hamilton could signal the start of a great Shield era for the Christchurch-based side.

Waikato: Jordan Trainor, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Willis Halaholo, Tevita Taufui, Sevu Reece, Sam Christie, Harrison Levien; Whetu Douglas (c), Murray Iti, Jordan Manihera, Brian Alainu'ese, Jacob Skeen, Sefo Kautai, Hame Faiva, Tau Koloamatangi. Reserves: Steven Misa, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Latu Talakai, Leva Fifita, Adam Burn, Pele Cowley, Jason Robertson, Milford Keresoma.

Canterbury: Johnny McNicholl, Marshall Suckling, Jack Goodhue, Jordie Barrett, Nathan Earle, Richie Mo'unga, Ere Enari; Luke Whitelock (c), Jed Brown, Reed Prinsep, Dominic Bird, Scott Barrett, Siate Tokolahi, Ben Funnell, Alex Hodgman. Reserves: Nathan Vella, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Oli Jager, David McDuling, Billy Harmon, Alby Mathewson, Inga Finau, Ben Volavola