Preview: Otago v Tasman

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Thursday, September 14, 2017    Getty Images

Otago v Tasman, Saturday 16 September, 4.35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

Played: 11 (2007-2016)
Wins: Otago 7, Tasman 3, Draws: 1
Last match: Otago 30 Tasman 21 (2016)

Otago have won two of their four games this season, but return to Forsyth Barr Stadium after humiliating Hawke's Bay 64-21. The win saw Fletcher Smith nab Otago's point-scoring record thanks to his 34-point haul. It was their second consecutive victory after two narrow losses to Premiership sides North Harbour (17-19) and Canterbury (24-30) at the beginning of the season. Tasman also have two wins from four, and just like Otago enter the game on a two-match winning streak thanks to narrow wins over Waikato (31-29) and Wellington (37-35).

Vernon Fredericks will bring up his 50th game for the country's newest province. The loose forward has battled back from a cyst on his brain in 2015 to be fighting fit for the Makos. One person who won't be suiting up for Tasman is Kane Hames, who is swapping the red and blue of Tasman for the All Black jersey. Tim Perry was also called in as cover, but has been named in the squad.

Tasman left it late against Wellington, and will need to ensure they produce a consistent performance to power their push into the Premiership top-four. Otago, meanwhile, enter the game having scored over 90 points in their past two games. The hosts have started to hit their straps, but face some dynamic threats in James Lowe, Billy Guyton and the ever-impressive Jordan Taufua. It will be a tight encounter, but expect Tasman to pull away late to take the chocolates.

Otago: Fletcher Smith, Mitchell Scott, Sio Tomkinson, Teihorangi Walden, Latu Veino, Josh Ioane, Josh Renton, Adam Wright, James Lentjes, Dillon Hunt, Josh Dickson, Josh Furno, Hisa Sasagi, Sam Anderson-Heather (captain), Craig Millar.
Reserves: Sekonaia Pole, Aki Seiuli, Donald Brighouse, Blair Tweed, Sione Teu, Jonathan Ruru, Vilimoni Koroi, Leroy van Dam.

Tasman: Will Jordan, Tima Faingaanuku, Levi Aumua, Alex Nankivell, James Lowe, Mitch Hunt, Billy Guyton; Jordan Taufua, Vernon Fredericks, Ethan Blackadder, Quinten Strange, Alex Ainley (captain), Isaac Salmon, Andrew Makalio, Tim Perry.
Reserves: Ti'i Paulo, Tom Hill, Drew Petelo, Shannon Frizell, Pete Samu, Finlay Christie, Tim O'Malley, Trael Joass.