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Preview: Otago v Southland

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Friday, October 13, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Otago v Southland, Saturday 14 October, 5.05pm at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin. TICKETS.

Played: 240 (1887-2016)
Wins: Otago 148, Southland 82, Draws 10
Last match: Otago 40, Southland 17 (2016)

FORM
Southland have had a season to forget with just one solitary bonus point coming from nine matches played. Otago have looked good in patches this year but still find themselves sitting outside the Championship top four. Last week Otago were off the pace in failing to even secure a bonus point in going down 36-28 to Bay of Plenty. 

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HEROIC HALDER
One of the bright spots of Southland’s horror season has been the consistent performance of workhorse loose forward Phil Halder. The 24-year-old has been prominent with ball in hand but it is on defence where he has really excelled with 104 tackles made so far this season – more than any other player in the Mitre 10 Cup. With the impressive Elliot Dixon ruled out with a torn-bicep, Halder’s contribution will be even more crucial to the Stags chances.
OTAGO THREATS
The Razorbacks have crossed for 37 tries so far this season to sit fourth on the ladder of most tries scored. Exciting young win Jona Nareki has been particularly potent with eight tries scored but he has been well complimented by an exciting backline. Midfielders Sio Tomkinson and Tei Walden have formed a powerful partnership while Matt Faddes is always dangerous at fullback or whatever position his versatility lands him in. Halfback Jonathan Ruru is another one for the Stags to keep an eye on as Otago look to keep their hot try-scoring form going.

THE SCOOP

There hasn’t been much to celebrate for Southland this season and we can’t see that changing at Forsyth Barr Stadium. Otago will be desperate to pick up maximum points to give themselves the best shot of making the playoffs. Expect a clinical display from the Razorbacks with their season on the line.

TEAMS
Otago:
Craig Millar, Sam Anderson-Heather, Donald Brighouse, Blair Tweed, Josh Dickson, Adam Knight, Sione Teu, Jonathan Ruru, Josh Ioane, Jona Nareki, Tei Walden, Sio Tomkinson, Mitchell Scott, Matt Faddes
Reserves: Sekionaia Pole, Jonah Aoina, Hisa Sasagi, Josh Furno, Slade McDowall, Josh Renton, Fletcher Smith, Latu Vaeno

Southland:
Joseph Walsh, Thomas Flynn, Guy Millar, Thomas Tepasu, Michael McKee, Phil Halder, Tim Boys, Tupou Sopoaga, Jay Renton, Scott Eade, Aleki Morris, Matt Johnson, Neria Fomai, Ryan Tongia, Lewis Ormond.
Reserves: Sam Stewart, Shaun Stodart, Morgan Mitchell, Ben Fotheringham, Bill Fukofuka, Liam Howley, Greg Dyer, James Schrader