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PREVIEW: Bay of Plenty v Southland

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Bay of Plenty v Southland, Wednesday 20 September, 7.35pm at Rotorua International Stadium. TICKETS.

Played: 37 (1938-2016)
Wins: Bay of Plenty 20, Southland 16, Draws 1
Last match: Southland 20, Bay of Plenty 16

FORM
Southland are yet to gain a competition point in 2017 and would most likely need to win all four of their remaining games to make the playoffs. Bay of Plenty have won two from five and sit just one point outside of the Championship top four. A victory will place the Steamers nicely inside the top four while a win for the Stags will offer a faint playoff lifeline. 

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COACH’S WORD
Bay of Plenty coach Clayton McMillan says his team is wary of the threat Southland pose. "They've shown in some games they can stay in it for a long period of time and coming up here they'll see this as an opportunity to get some points on the board. I think they'll throw the kitchen sink at us,” McMillan said.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Steamers right wing Monty Ioane has been one of the form wings of the Mitre 10 Cup. With 23 defenders beaten, Ioane has sparked much of Bay of Plenty’s attack and forms a dangerous back-three combination with livewire fullback Chase Tiatia and sevens star Joe Webber. Southland’s Elliot Dixon has played with the intensity that earned him an All Blacks jersey in 2016 and will lead the Stags forward effort in this clash.



THE SCOOP
The Steamers have shown moments of brilliance in 2017 but just need consistency to become a genuine title threat. A big win over the Stags at home will provide the perfect momentum for a run through to the finals. We think Southland will bring plenty of desperation, but the home side should be a class above.

TEAMS
Bay of Plenty: Solomona Sakalia, Liam Polwart, Jeff Thwaites, Culum Retallick, Keepa Mewett, Tom Franklin, Hugh Blake, Jesse Paraete, Richard Judd, Mike Delany, Joe Webber, Terrence Hepetema, Lalakai Foketi, Monty Ioane, Chase Tiatia
Reserves: Nathan Harris, James Lay, Troy Callander, Henry Stowers, Luke Campbell, Elijah Nicholas, Isaac Te Aute

Southland: Joseph Walsh, Brayden Mitchell, Guy Millar, Bill Fukofuka, Thomas Tepasu, Tupou Sopoaga, Phil Halder, Elliot Dixon, Liam Howley, Scott Eade, Aleki Morris, Matthew Johnson, Neria Fomai, Michael Molloy, Lewis Ormond
Reserves: Thomas Flynn, Shaun Stoddart, Mitchell Morgan, Michael McKee, Tim Boys, Jay Renton, William Talataina-Mu, Ryan Tongia