PREVIEW: Taranaki v Waikato
Friday, August 18, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
Game details: Taranaki v Waikato, Saturday 19 August, 5.05pm, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth. GET TICKETS.
Played: 81 (1921-2016) | Waikato wins: 42 | Taranaki wins: 32 | Draws: 7
Get strapped in for some fast paced action with both Waikato and Taranaki boasting some of the fastest outside backs in the competition. Waikato wing pair of Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara and Sevu Reece lit up the Mitre 10 Cup in 2016 with their express pace and dazzling footwork. Taranaki have a slippery combination of their own in the powerful Seta Tamanivalu and former sevens star Declan O’Donell. With former All Blacks flyer Zac Guilford at the back for Waikato and the always dependable Marty McKenzie in the fifteen jersey for Taranaki, the back three battle will be one to savour.
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FLANKERS FOR THE FUTURE
There will be an eye to future in the loose forwards with Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki) and Mitch Jacobsen (Waikato) squaring off in the number seven jersey. The two former age-grade stars progressed well in the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup season and are poised to play even bigger roles this season. Not only are both players great foragers, they also offer impact with ball in hand and will be eager to show that they are ready to play a big role at Investec Super Rugby level next season.
Nothing could separate the sides when they clashed in 2016 with the Ranfurly Shield on the line. Waikato fought back to claim a 20-20 draw and retain the ‘log o’ wood’.
With both teams boasting plenty of strike power out wide, there is sure to be no shortage of expansive play and counter attack. But we think Taranaki will have the edge upfront with the talented Mitchell Graham and vastly experience Angus Ta’avao giving them the advantage in what should be a highly exciting encounter.
Taranaki: Marty McKenzie, Declan O'Donnell, Sean Wainui, Charlie Ngatai (c), Seta Tamanivalu, Stephen Perofeta, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi; Toa Halafihi, Lachlan Boshier, Pita-Gus Powakula, Leon Power, Leighton Price, Angus Ta'avao, Sione Lea, Mitchell Graham. Reserves: Donald Maka, Jared Proffit, Mike Kainga, Brad Tucker, Adrian Wyrill, Logan Crowley, Beaudein Waaka, Latu Vaeno
Waikato: Zac Guildford, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Bailyn Sullivan, Dwayne Sweeney (c), Sevu Reece, Sam Christie, Pele Cowley; James Tucker, Mitch Jacobson, Jordan Manihera, Leva Fifita, Jacob Skeen, Sefo Kautai, Hame Faiva, Latu Talakai. Reserves: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Ayden Johnstone, Joshua Iosefa-Scott, Luke Jacobson, Adam Burn, Harrison Levien, Tevita Taufui, Tyler Campbell.
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