PREVIEW: Taranaki v Bay of Plenty

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Thursday, September 14, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Taranaki v Bay of Plenty, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth, Friday, 7.45pm

Taranaki coach Colin Cooper has made only one change to his side from that which beat Auckland. Charlie Ngatai returns to start at second five-eighths which has resulted in Sean Wainui moving out to centre and Seta Tamanivalu to the left wing. Bay of Plenty coach Clayton McMillan has made several changes. Aidan Ross will start at loosehead prop and Seb Siataga will start at hooker. Neither of the men they replaced Solomona Sakalia or Liam Polwart have been listed in the substitutes. Culum Retallick will start with Keepa Mewett replaced. Jesse Parete returns from injury to the blindside flank with Tom Franklin coming off the bench. Henry Stowers will play openside flank ahead of Hugh Blake. Luke Campbell will start at halfback, the first time he has been pair with Kelly Haimona, while Lalaki Foketi moves into second five-eighths for with Liam Steel starting at centre. Isaac Te Aute has been named at fullback and Chase Tiatia has moved to the left wing for Joe Webber. Mike Delany, who was a late withdrawal for the Manawatu game has been named on the bench with Kelly Haimona starting at first five-eighths.

Played 42
Wins: Taranaki 26, Bay of Plenty 16
Last time: Taranaki 30 Bay of Plenty 22, Tauranga 2016

Cooper said the stability in selection was recognition of the effort in recording a 49-38 win over Auckland at the weekend. The side had overcome disruptions caused by the All Blacks being in town for their Test against Argentina but the side had not let that affect them. "Our defence was probably the best it has been this season. The game is constantly evolving and teams have a more attacking mindset than possibly in the past, with bonus points for four tries now becoming a big focus. We target an 85 percent tackle success rate and against Auckland it was 92 percent, so that was very pleasing," he said. Cooper was mindful of the Bay of Plenty threat. "They have a forward pack that works hard and have a dangerous backline with threats throughout, so we will have to bring the right attitude, as we did against Auckland," he said.

Bay of Plenty will face a formidable unit in New Plymouth. In their four games Taranaki have scored 20 tries while Bay of Plenty has only scored 11. Taranaki has gained 2020 metres, made 52 clean breaks by beating 93 defenders while conceding only 72 turnovers. Their tackle success rate is 86.4. Bay of Plenty have made 1417m for 41 clean breaks while beating 71 defenders and conceding 61 turnovers with a competitive tackle success rate of 85.8.


Taranaki: 1.Mitchell Graham, 2.Ricky Riccitelli, 3.Angus Ta'avao, 4.Brad Tucker, 5.Fin Hoeata, 6.Pita Sowakula, 7.Lachlan Boshier, 8.Toa Halafihi, 9.Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 10.Stephen Perofeta, 11.Seta Tamanivalu, 12.Charlie Ngatai, 13.Sean Wainui, 14.Declan O'Donnell, 15.Marty McKenzie.

Substitutes: 16.Sione Lea, 17.Reuben O'Neill, 18.Asaeli Sorovaki, 19.Leon Power, 20.Adrian Wyrill, 21.Kylem O'Donnell, 22.Johnny Fa'auli, 23.Manasa Mataele.

Bay of Plenty
: 1.Aidan Ross, 2.Seb Siataga, 3.Jeff Thwaites, 4.Troy Callander, 5.Culum Retallick, 6.Jesse Parete, 7.Henry Stowers, 8.Tyler Ardron, 9.Luke Campbell, 10.Kelly Haimona, 11.Chase Tiatia, 12.Lalakai Foketi, 13.Liam Steel, 14.Monty Ioane, 15.Isaac Te Aute.

Substitutes: 16.James O'Reilly, 17.Jordan Lay, 18.James Lay, 19.Tom Franklin, 20.Hugh Blake, 21.Mike Delany, 22.Terrence Hepetema, 23.Elijah Nicholas.