PREVIEW: Southland v Auckland
Thursday, September 14, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
Played: 54 (1903-2016)
Wins: Southland 8, Auckland 43, Draws: 3
Last match: Auckland 51, Southland 16 (2016)
Form is not a word associated with either of these sides at this stage of the season. From a combined nine games between them, they have only won one game. Auckland took out Northland in round two for their sole win while Southland have lost all four of their matches by healthy margins to sit rooted at the bottom of the Championship ladder with zero points.
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ALL BLACKS EXPERIENCE
Auckland travel down south with a healthy contingent of All Blacks in their ranks. In the pack, Patrick Tuipulotu and Jerome Kaino provide some real firepower while openside flanker Blake Gibson has spent some time in the All Blacks camp recently. George Moala is the lone All Black starting in the backline and will also be motivated by playing his 50th match for Auckland. But the All Blacks experience doesn’t end there. Malakai Fekitoa will provide impact from the bench.
Southland laid on an impressive first half against Canterbury last week and will need to repeat it for the full eighty to defeat Auckland. The Northerners have struggled this season but have enough class sprinkled through their team that they should come away from Invercargill with the ‘W’.
Southland: Joseph Walsh, Brayden Mitchell, Morgan Mitchell, Michael McKee, Tepasu Thomas, Tupou Sopoaga, Phil Halder, Bill Fukofuka, Liam Howley, Scott Eade, Aleki Morris, Matthew Johnson, Neria Fomai, Michael Molloy, Lewis Ormond
Reserves: Thoms Flynn, Shaun Stodart, Guy Millar, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Greg Dyer, William Talataina-Mu, Junior Ngaluafe
Auckland: Sam Prattley, Greg Pleasents-Tate, Marcel Renata, Patrick Tuipulotu, Ben Nee-Nee, Taleni Seu, Blake Gibson, Jerome Kaino, Jono Hickey, Tyrone Elkington Macdonald,
Melani Nanai, TJ Faiane, George Moala, Vince Aso, Jordan Trainor
Reserves: Kurt Eklund, Emersen Tamura-Paki, Isi Tu’ungafasi, Dalton Papalii, Sinclair Dominikovich Murray, Lisati Milo-Harris, Malakai Fekitoa
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