PREVIEW: Southland v Northland
Thursday, October 6, 2016 allblacks.com Getty Images
Match details: Southland v Northland, 2.35pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill
Wins: Northland 18, Southland 18
Last match: Southland 27, Northland 18 (2015)
Biggest winning margin: Northland by 36 (48-12) in 2001
Impressive Southland wing Jaye Thompson-Te Munnu has been shifted to centre to provide some spark in the midfield for the Stags while veteran halfback Jimmy Cowan regains the number nine jersey. In the pack, Bill Fukofuka, Mike McKee and Brayden Mitchell have all been added to the starting lineup. Northland are still without dynamic halfback Sam Nock and inspirational lock josh Goodhue who both sat out the victory over Waikato. Three changes have been made to the starting lineup for the Taniwha with Tamati Tua and Waisea Lawebuka coming into the backline and Howard Silioto replacing Namatahi Waa at prop.
Both teams have a seven loss, one win record but Northland bring all the form into this clash after thumping Waikato 48-27 last week. Southland, on the other hand, where dismantled 60-21 against Wellington. To add extra spice to this clash, the loser will be in pole position to claim the wooden spoon.
This time last year Peter Breen was taking the field for Otago and Wharenui Hawera was playing for Waikato. Fast forward one year and these two players have been key performers for the Taniwha and Stags respectively. Breen has been at the forefront of Northland’s turnaround while Hawera leads Southland in points (73) and tries (2). Hawera is a pinpoint goal kicker who will punish any Northland indiscretions while Breen offers exceptional playmaking ability.
SOUTHLAND: Junior Ngaluafe, Tauasosi Tuimavave, Jaye Thompson-Te Munnu, James Schrader, Mike Molloy, Wharenui Hawera, Jimmy Cowan, Mika Mafi, Tim Boys, Bill Fukofuka, Matthew Philip, Mike McKee, Guy Millar, Brayden Mitchell (c), Joe Walsh.Reserves; Jason Rutledge, Peni Ravai, Morgan Mitchell, Josh Clark, Phil Halder, Jahvis Wallace, Greg Dyer, Dylan Collier.
NORTHLAND: 15: Solomon Aliamalo 14: Jordan Hyland 13: Tamati Tua 12: Dan Hawkins 11: Waisea Lawebuka 10: Peter Breen 9: Malcolm MacLeod 8: Matt Matich 7: Kara Pryor 6: Michael Faleafa 5: Shane Neville 4: Tom Robinson 3: Phil Kite 2: Matt Moulds (C) 1: Howard Silioto
Reserves: Ross Wright, Namatahi Waa, Matt Talese, Josh Larsen, Aorangi Stokes, Matty Marwick, Warren Dunn, Jone Macilai