Preview: Canterbury v Waikato (Ranfurly Shield)
Friday, September 29, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
Played: 51 (1929-2016)
Wins: Canterbury 32, Waikato 18, Draws 1
Last match: Canterbury 29, Waikato 23 (2016)
Canterbury sit comfortably at the top of the Premiership with a heavy loss to Wellington their only blemish in 2017. Waikato have won two matches from seven played and are in the unique position of being in contention for the playoffs and also in danger of demotion. Last week they were blown away be Wellington in the second half to lose 34-10.
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Lock James Tucker says Waikato travel south with belief they can lift the Shield they lost to Canterbury last year.”They're a bloody good side and they've got their structures they play to. There are weaknesses to what they do and we need to back ourselves, our defence and get in their face. We've also seen Wellington put 60 points on them. You've got to take positives and negatives from watching their games,” Tucker said.
Although Canterbury are heavily favoured to win this clash, Waikato will throw everything at them knowing that their Premiership survival could depend on the win. Canterbury have one Ranfurly Shield defence left against Taranaki next week and cannot afford to look to far ahead. Expect plenty of fireworks early but Canterbury should take control as the game wears on.
Canterbury: Alex Hodgman, Ben Funnell, Siate Tokolahi, Mitchell Dunshea, Dominic Bird, Tom Sanders, Jed Brown, Reed Prinsep, Mitchell Drummond, Richie Mo’unga, Braydon Ennor, Rob Thompson, Tim Bateman, Josh McKay, George Bridge
Reserves: Nathan Vella, Chris Gawler, Oli Jager, Hamish Dalzell, Billy Harmon, Jack Stratton, Brett Cameron, Marshall Suckling
Waikato: Tyler Campbell, Bailyn Sullivan, Pita Ahki, Dwayne Sweeney (c), Sevu Reece, Sam Christie, Harrison Levien; Jordan Manihera, Mitch Jacobson, Luke Jacobson, James Tucker, Jacob Skeen, Atu Moli, Hame Faiva, Ayden Johnstone. Reserves: Samisoni Taukei'aho, Loni Uhila, Sefo Kautai, Leva Fifita, Adam Burn, Pele Cowley, Matty Lansdown, Tevita Taufu
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