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Preview: Auckland v Bay of Plenty

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Thursday, September 28, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images


Match details:
Auckland v Bay of Plenty, Saturday 30 September, 5.05pm, Eden Park, Auckland. TICKETS. 

Played: 62 (1912-2016)
Wins: Auckland 50, Bay of Plenty 12
Last match: Auckland 44, Bay of Plenty 38 (2016)

FORM
Auckland sit at the foot of the Premiership ladder with two wins from seven matches. Last week they went down to Otago 34-26 in a hard fought battle. They have plenty of quality names on their roster but have struggled for any consistency in 2017. Bay of Plenty have also blown hot and cold this year but showed great promise in their 31-31 draw with Counties Manukau last week. 

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ONE TO WATCH
Vince Aso was one of the form players of Super Rugby and has continued his impressive rise for Auckland. Whether in the midfield or on the wing, Aso has looked equally dangerous in crossing for five tries, making 13 clean breaks and beating 12 defenders. With the dangerous George Moala and Melani Nanai also in the Auckland backline, the Bay of Plenty defence will have to be at its best to keep the damage to a minimum.

THE SCOOP
The intensity will be high in what is a season defining clash for both teams. A loss for Auckland will see them move into big danger of demotion to the Championship. A loss for the Steamers will make it difficult for them to make the playoffs. The threat of demotion and playing in front of their home fans might be enough to get Auckland over the line.

TEAMS
Auckland:
Sam Prattley, Kurt Eklund, Marcel Renata, Jamie Lane, Ben Nee-Nee, Taleni Seu, Blake Gibson, Akira Ioane, Jono Hickey, Tyrone Elkington-MacDonald, Joe Ravouvou, TJ Faiane (C), George Moala, Vince Aso, Melani Nanai.
Reserves: Greg Pleasents-Tate, Emersen Tamura-Paki, Dexter Fa’amoana, Sinclair Dominikovich, Dalton Papali’I, Nico Costa, Harry Plummer, Tumua Manu

Bay of Plenty:
Aidan Ross, James O’Reilly, Jeff Thwaites, Troy Callander, Keepa Mewett, Tom Franklin, Hugh Blake, Jesse Parete, Richard Judd, Mike Delany, Joe Webber, Terrence Hepetema, Lalakai Foketi, Monty Ioane, Chase Tiatia
Reserves: Seb Siataga, Jordan Lay, James Lay, Tyler Ardon, Henry Stowers, Luke Campbell, Elijah Nicholas, Isaac Te Aute