PREVIEW: Hawke’s Bay v Canterbury
Thursday, August 31, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
Canterbury have simply picked up where they left off in 2016 with bonus point wins over Tasman and Otago to start their 2017 campaign. Hawke’s Bay were sluggish in the opening round in just scraping by Southland but were exposed last week against a rampant Bay of Plenty in Rotorua.
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Hawke’s Bay will be hoping for a complete reversal from the last time the two sides met. In round four last year, Canterbury were exceptional in blowing away the Magpies 63-7 in Christchurch.
The Magpies will be banking on some trademark clear and calm conditions in Napier to unleash their exciting back three. Impressive fullback Tiaan Falcon is flanked on the wings by former NZ Under 20 star Jonah Lowe and Chiefs flyer Sam McNicol. The trio pose a dangerous counter-attacking threat to Canterbury and will surely have been given a licence to thrill at McLean Park.
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Hawke’s Bay coach Craig Philpott says the clash against Canterbury will signal the start of a defining ten days where the side plays three games against Canterbury, Wellington and Otago. "We've got a tight group of men who want to do well in the black and white jersey. We've got some work to do and with our Storm Week coming up that's a good way to get tighter.," Philpott said.
We think that Canterbury will be tripped up at some stage during the regular season but can’t see it happening this week. Hawke’s Bay will come out with more energy and fluency than we have seen in the opening two rounds but it still shouldn’t be enough to test a Canterbury side that is leading the competition.
Hawke’s Bay: 1: Jason Long 2: Ash Dixon 3: Pouri Rakete-Stones 4: Geoff Cridge 5: Michael Allardice 6: Hugh Renton 7: Fa’alemiga Selesele 8: Marino Mikaele-Tu’u 9: Chris Eaton 10: Ihaia West 11: Sam McNicol 12: Richard Buckman 13: Cardiff Vaega 14: Jonah Lowe 15: Tiaan Falcon
Reserves: Jacob Devery, Mark Braidwood, Jarvy Aoake, Nicholas Palmer, Brad Weber, Hayden Hann, To’o Vaega
Canterbury: 1: Alex Hodgman 2: Nathan Vella 3: Oliver Jager 4: Mitchell Dunshea 5: Dominic Bird 6: Reed Prinsep 7: Jed Brown 8: Luke Whitelock 9: Jack Stratton 10: Brett Cameron 11: Brayden Ennor 12: Rob Thompson 13: Tim Bateman 14: Marshall Suckling 15: George Bridge
Reserves: Nick Werahiko, Chris Gawler, Siate Tokolahi, Hamish Dalzell, Billy Harmon, Ere Enari, Inga Finau, Josh McKay
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