PREVIEW: Tasman v Canterbury

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Thursday, August 17, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Tasman v Canterbury, Trafalgar Park, Nelson, Friday, 7.35pm. Get your tickets here.

Franchise partners they may be but there is plenty for both sides to play for on Friday. Canterbury won both contests between the teams last year, finishing off with the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final by 43-27. But Tasman will go into the game with 10 Super Rugby players looking to take advantage of playing at home in Nelson. However, the side will be without Vernon Fredericks, Jordan Taufua, Will Jordan, Ryan Cozon and Pari Pari Parkinson who are all injured while David Havili has not been cleared to play. By comparison, Canterbury are stacked with Super Rugby experience and will be looking to extend their recent record over their partner.

Played: 12
Wins: Tasman 4, Canterbury 8
Last time: Canterbury 43-27 Tasman, AMI Stadium, 2016 (Final)

Canterbury's ability to introduce new players to the national scene continues with their selection for their Mitre 10 Cup opener against Tasman on Friday. Into the side is exciting New Zealand Under-20 World Cup winning left wing Josh McKay. He made his debut in the recent Ranfurly Shield defence against Mid Canterbury and not only scored a try but showed his goal-kicking ability by landing three conversions in Canterbury's 69-7 win. Two others may also debut at this level if they get the call as substitutes. They are first five-eighths Brett Cameron, who played in the Shield game and outside back Caleb Makene.

Lock Alex Ainley has been around long enough, in fact as long as Tasman has been in existence, to remember the bad old days when success was hard to come by. Now with 80 games for the Union behind him, he will be joined by a second foundation player hooker Ti'i Paulo this year. But Ainley has extra incentive to do well - he will captain the side. The incumbent Shane Christie, who has led the side since 2013, is still completing concussion protocols so Ainley has been given the job in the meantime. Ainley has previous experience, he captained the side in 2008.


Tasman: 1.Tim Perry, 2.Andrew Makalio, 3.Siua Halanukonuka, 4.Alex Ainley (captain), 5.Quinten Strange, 6.Ethan Blackadder, 7.Pete Samu, 8.Shannon Frizell, 9.Billy Guyton, 10.Mitchell Hunt, 11.Viliami Lolohea, 12.Trael Joass, 13.Alex Nankivell, 14.Tima Faingaanuku, 15.James Lowe.

Substitutes: 16.Ti'i Paulo, 17.Tom Hill, 18.Kane Hames, 19.Tone Ng Shiu, 20.Willis Scott, 21.Finlay Christie, 22.Tim O'Malley, 23.Levi Aumua.

Canterbury: 1.Daniel Lienert-Brown, 2.Ben Funnell, 3.Siate Tokolahi, 4.Mitchell Dunshea, 5.Dominic Bird, 6.Tom Sanders, 7.Jed Brown, 8.Luke Whitelock (captain), 9.Mitchell Drummond, 10.Richie Mo'unga, 11.Josh McKay, 12.Rob Thompson, 13.Tim Bateman, 14.Poasa Waqanibau, 15.George Bridge.

Substitutes: 16.Nathan Vella, 17.Alex Hodgman, 18.Oliver Jager, 19.Reed Prinsep, 20.Billy Harmon, 21.Jack Stratton, 22.Brett Cameron, 23.Caleb Makene.