PREVIEW: Wellington v Canterbury

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Saturday, September 16, 2017    Getty Images

Match details:
Wellington v Canterbury, Sunday 17 September, 4.35pm, Westpac Stadium, Wellington. TICKETS.

Played: 171 (1883-2014)
Wins: Wellington 86, Canterbury 75, Draws: 10
Last match: Canterbury 46, Wellington 12 (2014)


Canterbury and Wellington are the two form teams of the competition. Canterbury have charged to the top of the Premiership with five bonus points wins from five matches. In their last two outings, Canterbury piled on a combined 156 points against Southland and Counties Manukau. Wellington have been almost as dominant in the Championship with four bonus point wins and a close lose to Tasman.


Although Wellington and Canterbury have played each other an incredible 171 times, they haven’t squared off since 2014. On that day Canterbury romped to a comfortable 46-12 win. The 2014 season wasn’t a good one for Wellington as they slumped to the Premiership wooden spoon and subsequently missed out on facing Canterbury in 2015 and 2016.

Julian Savea has overcome the disappointment of missing out on the All Blacks squad for the Investec Rugby Championship by being one of Wellington’s leading players in the Mitre 10 Cup so far this season. His good form, leadership and experience has been rewarded with the Captain’s armband for the first time in his career. Canterbury have a change in leadership also with Dominic Bird taking over the reigns from the injured Luke Whitelock.
The way Canterbury are going this season it is hard to see anyone stopping them. But given their tight turnaround from Wednesday’s Ranfurly Shield clash and Wellington’s domination of the Championship, victory will not come easy at Westpac Stadium. Either way it’s going to be an exciting and high scoring match-up between two of New Zealand’s oldest rivals but Canterbury still should have the edge.

Ben Lam, Julian Savea (c), Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Regan Verney, Malo Tuitama, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Mateaki Kafatolu, James Blackwell, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Sam Lousi, Jeffery To'omaga-Allen, Asafo Aumua, Tolu Fahamokioa. Reserves: Leni Apisai, Sitiveni Paongo, Alex Fidow, Will Mangos, Du'Plessis Kirifi, Sheridan Rangihuna, Dan Kirkpatrick, Levi Harmon.

Canterbury: Alex Hodgman, Ben Funnell, Siate Tokolahi, Hamish Dalzell, Dominic Bird (C), Tom Sanders, Jed Brown, Reed Prinsep, Ere Enari, Brett Cameron, Josh McKay, Rob Thompson, Inga Finau, Poasa, Waqanibau, George Bridge
Reserves: Nathan Vella, Chris Gawler, Jack Straker, Mitchell Dunshea, Billy Harmon, Mitchell Drummond, Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Suckling