PREVIEW: Waikato v Tasman
Saturday, September 2, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
Match details: Waikato v Tasman, Sunday 3 September, 2.35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton. TICKETS.
Wins: Waikato 4, Tasman 6
Waikato have had a storming start to the year with wins over Auckland and Counties Manukau placing them near the top of the Premiership ladders. Tasman were finalists in 2016 but have struggled in the early stages this year. A first round 39-0 loss to Canterbury was followed by a 35-20 loss to Manawatu in round two to leave Tasman at the foot of the Premiership ladder.
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ALL BLACKS BACK
Tasman are boosted by the inclusion of All Blacks squad members Kane Hames and David Havili. Hames has built a reputation as an Ox at scrum time and will ensure that Tasman remain strong at set piece. Havili has been a big mover this season with a stunning season with the Crusaders. He will have plenty of opportunities to showcase his attacking flair by playing at second five-eighth instead of at fullback where he shone for the Crusaders this year. Waikato have also have an All Black in their ranks in experienced halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow who is sure to form a formidable partnership with first five-eighth Sam Christie.
Can blockbusting Waikato No.8 Jordan Manihera keep his potent try-scoring form going? With a hat-trick against Taranaki, double against Counties Manukau and a lone try against Auckland, Manihera leads the Mitre 10 Cup try-scoring ladder with six tries. With a taste for the chalk Manihera will be one to watch whenever Waikato get into Tasman’s half.
Momentum is a hard thing to stop and Waikato have plenty of it at the moment. Tasman need to find some confidence but will find it hard against a Waikato team that gets better with each outing. Tasman will get closer than their first two results but we still expect Waikato to hang on for another win – although it will not come easy.
Waikato: Zac Guilford, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara, Sevu Reece, Dwayne Sweeny, Tyler Campbell, Sam Christie, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Jordan Manihera, Mitch Jacobsen, Luke Jacobsen, James Tucker, Jacob Skeen, Sefo Kautai, Hame Faiva, Loni Uhila
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Latu Talakai, Duke Nginingini, Salesi Fifita, Adam Burn, Pele Cowley, Mathew Landsdowne, Dylan Colier
Tasman: Will Jordan, Tima Faingaanuku, Alex Nankivell, David Havili, James Lowe, Mitchell Hunt, Billy Guyton; Jordan Taufua, Vernon Fredericks, Ethan Blackadder, Quinten Strange, Alex Ainley (c), Kane Hames, Andrew Makalio, Tim Perry.
Reserves: Ti'i Paulo, Tom Hill, Isaac Salmon, Shannon Frizell, Pete Samu, Finlay Christie, Tim O'Malley, Levi Aumua.
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