PREVIEW: Waikato v Manawatu

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Thursday, September 14, 2017    Getty Images

Match details:
Waikato v Manawatu, Saturday 16 September, 2.35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton. TICKETS.

Played: 28 (1921-2016)
Wins: Waikato 20, Manawatu 6, Draws 2
Last match: Waikato 19, Manawatu 10 (2016)

Waikato have won two games from five but find themselves on 14 competition points through a healthy accumulation of bonus points. Manawatu have a one-win, three-loss record but will move right into Championship semifinal contention with victory over Waikato.


Fullbacks Zac Guilford and Kurt Baker have made a huge impact for their respective sides this season. Guilford has ignited much of Waikato’s attack and provided an experienced hand for his young wings. Baker has been away from Manawatu for a number of years but has slotted back in seamlessly. Always looking to counter-attack, Baker also pulled off one of the most incredible 22 metre drop outs ever seen last week. Both players show no shortage of passion on the field and will be eager to inspire their teams in what shapes as a critical clash.
Manawatu play with plenty of heart and will push Waikato to the brink. The Mooloos have shown that on their day they can beat anyone in the Mitre 10 Cup and will be desperate to secure a big win at home to show that they are genuine title contenders. We expect Waikato to have too much fire power at home for a never-say-die Manawatu side.

Zac Guildford, Bailyn Sullivan, Pita Ahki, Tevita Taufui, Sevu Reece, Sam Christie, Harrison Levien; Adam Burn (c), Mitch Jacobson, Luke Jacobson, James Tucker, Leva Fifita, Sefo Kautai, Hame Faiva, Loni Uhila. Reserves: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Latu Talakai, Atu Moli, Sam Caird, Jordan Manihera, Pele Cowley, Matty Lansdown, Tyler Campbell.

Manawatu: Kurt Baker, Newton Tudreu, Lewis Marshall, Jason Emery, Willy Ambaka, Otere Black, Kayne Hammington; Brice Henderson, Antonio Kiri Kiri, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Jackson Hemopo, Tom Parsons, Michael Alaalatoa, Tim Cadwallader, Fraser Armstrong. Reserves: Tom Crozier, Tuki Raimona, Sean Paranihi, Liam Mitchell, Harrison Brewer, Jamie Booth, Jade Te Rure, Jason Emery.