PREVIEW: Tasman v Wellington
Saturday, September 9, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
Wellington have been unstoppable so far this season with four bonus point victories. Tasman started with crushing losses to Canterbury and Manawatu but bounced back last week with a 31-29 victory over Waikato. It was looking like a comfortable win to Tasman before Waikato stormed back in the final 15 minutes and they will know they cannot afford to let the pressure off against Wellington.
FRONT ROW FORCE
Wellington have set the Mitre 10 Cup alight in 2017 with a set of scintillating ball running front rowers. Hooker Asafo Aumua has dazzled with his ball skills, pace and power and will start from the bench after overcoming a minor injury. Prop Alex Fidow has been equally impressive and scored a double against Hawke’s Bay on Wednesday to underline his talent. Tasman answer back with some power of their own upfront in the form of rampaging Crusaders hooker Andrew Makalio.
Tasman will be buoyed by their win over Waikato and will find extra motivation playing in front of their home crowd at Landsdowne Park. Wellington have a tight turnaround from Wednesday night’s win over Hawke’s Bay but should have enough depth in their squad to emerge with their fifth straight victory.
Wellington: Ben Lam, Julian Savea, Wes Goosen, Regan Verney, Losi Filipo, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Brad Shields (c), Du'Plessis Kirifi, Will Mangos, James Blackwell, Sam Lousi, Alex Fidow, Leni Apisai, Tolu Fahamokioa.
Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Sitiveni Paongo, Ha'amea Ahio, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Mateaki Kafatolu, Sheridan Rangihuna, Dan Kirkpatrick, Levi Harmon.
Tasman: Will Jordan, Tima Faingaanuku, Levi Aumua, Alex Nankivell, James Lowe, Mitchell Hunt, Billy Guyton, Jordan Taufua, Vernon Fredericks, Ethan Blackadder, Shannon Frizell, Alex Ainley, Isaac Salmon, Andrew Makalio, Timothy Perry
Reserves: Ti’I Paulo, Tom Hill, Jack Straker, Quentin Strange, Peter Samu, Finlay Christie, Timothy O’Malley, Trael Joass
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