Preview: Counties Manukau v Northland

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Saturday, September 30, 2017    Getty Images

Match details:
Counties Manukau v Northland, 4.35pm Sunday 1 October, ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe. TICKETS. 

Played: 82 (1956-2015)
Wins: Counties Manuku 28, Northland 50, Draws 4
Last match: Counties Manukau 42 Northland 17 (2015)

It has been a stop-start campaign for Counties Manukau with two wins, four losses and a draw so far in 2017. Since being thumped by Canterbury 78-5 in a disastrous Ranfurly Shield challenge, the Steelers have bounced back with a 33-14 win over Hawke’s Bay and an entertaining 31-31 draw with Bay of Plenty. Northland have been one of the form teams of the Championship and are coming off a hard-earned 32-30 win over Otago on Wednesday night.

One of the cornerstones of Northland’s success this year has been the potency of outside backs Jordan Hyland, Rene Ranger and Solomon Alaimalo. All three feature highly in the attacking statistics this season with Hyland in the top 10 on the competition ladder for defenders beaten with 25. Alaimalo is at the top of the defenders beaten statistic with 32 defenders left in his wake so far this season. They have been complimented by former All Black Rene Ranger who seems to always be in the thick of the action.


Even though they are playing away from home and against a Premiership side, Northland should have the slight edge over Counties Manukau. The Taniwha have played with great team spirit this year while Counties Manukau have struggled for any consistency. As long as Northland aren’t too fatigued from their Wednesday night clash they should be able to hold on for the win and secure a place in the playoffs.

Counties Manukau:
Pauliasi Manu, Joe Royal, Coree Te Whata-Colley, Jimmy Tupou, Martin Matiaha, Ronald Raaymakers, Fotu Lokotui, Sam Henwood, Augustine Pulu, Baden Kerr, Tevita Nabura, Orbyn Leger, Nigel Ah Wong, Albert Nikoro, Tim Nanai-Williams
Reserves: Gafatasi Su’a, Sean Bagshaw, Kalolo Tuiloma, Viliami Taulani, Liam Daniela, Stephen Donald, Luteru Laulala

Ross Wright, Matt Moulds, Ropate Rinakama, Joshua Goodhue, Tim Bond, Jack Ram, Kara Pryor, Matt Matich, Sam Nock, Peter Breen, Solomon Alaimalo, Tamati Tua, Rene Ranger, Jordan Hyland, Matt Wright
Reserves: Jordan Olsen, Phil Kite, Chris Apoua, Jaycob Matiu, Emil Pittman, Tim Blundell, Blake Hohaia