PREVIEW: Hawke's Bay v Otago

Getty Images

Saturday, September 9, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Hawke's Bay v Otago, McLean Park, Napier, Sunday, September 10, 4.35pm
Hawke's Bay have made five changes to their team which was beaten 27-40 by Wellington on Wednesday. A complete change has been made to the front row with Jason Long and Pouri Rakete-Stones to prop the scrum and with Jorian Tangaere to hook. Lock Josh Eden-Whaitiri has replaced the injured Geoff Cridge while injury to Tony Lamborn will see New Zealand Under-20 player Marino Mikaele-Tu'u start at No.8 having recovered from injury. They will also be without hooker Ash Dixon who has a hip injury while flanker Gareth Evans is still troubled by a thigh injury. Otago had a late withdrawal from their team with fullback Vilimoni Koroi suspected of suffering mumps. Fletcher Smith will take his place. That has seen Josh Timu take a place in the substitutes with a potential debut on the cards. He is the son of All Black John Timu. Josh Renton replaces Jonathan Ruru at halfback while wing Mitchell Scott has injury concerns and has been replaced by Leroy van Dam, who is making his starting debut. Prop Craig Millar will have his first start of the campaign.

Played: 55
Wins: Hawke's Bay 21, Otago 33, Draws 1
Last time: Hawke's Bay 39 Otago 22, Dunedin 2015

Otago trek to Napier for Sunday's game knowing the last of their wins in Hawke's Bay occurred in 1993, but part of that was due to them being in different divisions for 10 years before the change to the national championship format in 2006. But their last victory at home against the Magpies was still far enough back in 2010 and they will be looking to end their run of six consecutive losses this time around. The last game between the two was two years ago when Hawke's Bay won in Dunedin 39-22. However, with Hawke's Bay's only win being over Southland in their four games to date Otago sniff a chance. Hawke's Bay have gone down to Bay of Plenty, Canterbury and Wellington.

Hawke's Bay have scored 10 tries in their four games and made 1435 metres from 487 carries. They have made 567 passes for 38 clean breaks and 71 defenders beaten. However, they have conceded 62 turnovers and their tackle success rate is 79.2 percent. Otago, who are two points ahead of Hawkes' Bay having played one less game, have scored 12 tries and made 1096m from 262 carries. They have passed 278 times and made 31 clean breaks and beaten 48 defenders. Their turnover concession has been high with 54 but their tackle rate is slightly better than Otago's at 82.1 percent.

Hawke's Bay: 1.Jason Long, 2.Jorian Tangaere, 3.Pouri Rakete-Stones, 4.Nicholas Palmer, 5.Joshua Eden-Whaitiri, 6.Lucas Goodin, 7.Hugh Renton, 8.Marino Mikaele Tu'u, 9.Brad Weber, 10.Tiaan Falcon, 11.Sam McNichol, 12.Cardiff Vaega, 13.Hayden Hann, 14.Jonah Lowe, 15.Richard Buckman.

Substitutes: 16.Jacob Devery, 17.Mark Braidwood, 18.Jarvy Aoaki, 19.Ben Parsons, 20.Fa'aelmiga Selesele, 21.Ellery Wilson, 22.Dan Snee, 23.To'o Vaega.

Otago: 1.Craig Millar, 2.Sam Anderson-Heather, 3.Hisa Sasagi, 4.Josh Furno, 5.Josh Dickson, 6.Dillon Hunt, 7.James Lentjes, 8.Adam Knight, 9.Josh Renton, 10.Josh Ioane, 11.Jona Nareki, 12.Teihorangi Walden, 13.Patelesio Tomkinson, 14.Leroy van Dam, 15.Fletcher Smith.

Substitutes: 16.Sekonaia Pole, 17.Aki Seiuli, 18.Donald Brighous, 19.Blair Tweed, 20.Sione Teu, 21.Jonathan Ruru, 22.Josh Timu, 23.Latu Vaeno.