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Preview: Taranaki v Manawatu (Ranfurly Shield)

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

MATCH DETAILS: Taranaki v Manawatu, Wednesday 11 October, 7.35pm at Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth. TICKETS.

Played: 88 (1890-2016)
Wins: Taranaki 57, Manawatu 24, Draws: 7
Last match: Taranaki 30, Manawatu 19 (2016)

FORM
Taranaki have been in super-hot form throughout the Mitre 10 Cup season and seem to only be getting better. In one of the great Ranfurly Shield comebacks last week, Taranaki surged back from 31-7 down to beat Canterbury 55-43 to lift the ‘log ‘o wood’ for the first time since 2012. Manawatu have won four and lost four this season but have the double motivation of the Ranfurly Shield and a place in the Championship playoffs to spur them on. 

QUICK TAP: MITRE 10 CUP ROUND EIGHT REVIEW

ALL BLACKS BOOST
Both sides have been boosted by the inclusion of All Blacks in their line-ups. In the only change to their side that beat Canterbury last week, Taranaki have named electric All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo on the right wing. Manawatu have named blockbusting midfielder Ngani Laumape at second five-eighth in what shapes as an epic battle between two attacking back lines.
SKIPPER’S SERMON
Taranaki captain Angus Ta’avao says that his side has kept its focus on the Manawatu challenge: "The boys are feeling pretty good, though, it's been unreal to get so much positive feedback from everyone and we're proud to have it here. But there's no point celebrating and letting things get out of hand when we have a challenge from Manawatu. It's about coming out and putting an 80 minute performance together and not being as patchy as we have." 



THE SCOOP
Everything is on the line for Manawatu in this clash. A victory will secure a playoff spot and their first Ranfurly Shield reign since 1976-78. Taranaki will still be on a high from their Shield win but cannot afford any complacency against the Turbos. It’s set to be another classic Ranfurly Shield battle but we think Taranaki should have enough firepower to keep hold of the ‘log o’ wood’ for the summer.

BE THERE
Get your tickets here to experience the final Ranfurly Shield challenge of 2017 live at Yarrow Stadium.

TEAMS
Taranaki: Marty McKenzie, Waisake Naholo, Seta Tamanivalu, Sean Wainui, Manasa Mataele, Stephen Perofeta, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Toa Halafihi, Lachlan Boshier, Pita-Gus Sowakula, Leon Power, Kane Thompson, Angus Ta'avao (c), Ricky Riccitelli, Mitchell Graham,. Reserves, Donald Maka, Jared Proffit, Reuben O'Neill, Fin Hoeata, Adrian Wyrill, Kylem O'Donnell, Charlie Ngatai, Declan O'Donnell.

Manawatu:
Kurt Baker, Newton Tudreu, Jason Emery, Ngani Laumape, Ambrose Curtis, Otere Black, Kayne Hammington, Brice Henderson, Antonio Kiri Kiri, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (c), Jackson Hemopo, Tom Parsons, Michael Alaalatoa , Hunter Prescott, Fraser Armstrong. Reserves: Tim Cadwallader, Tuki Raimona, Sean Paranihi , Liam Hallam-Eames, Harrison Brewer, Jamie Booth, Jade Te Rure, Te Rangatira Waitokia