PREVIEW: Southland v Counties Manukau

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Thursday, September 6, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match details: Southland v Counties Manukau, September 8, 2.05pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

Played: 30
Won: Southland 9, Counties Manukau 19, Draws 2
Last time: Southland 10-24 Counties Manukau, Invercargill, October 4, 2014
Referee: James Doleman


Southland has continued to battle. They lost their first game to Hawke's Bay, at home, 10-31, then went down to Tasman in Blenheim 24-45. They then were beaten 52-7 by Wellington. Counties Manukau last their opener to Auckland 19-23, and then went down to Bay of Plenty 17-22. They lost to Taranaki 19-26 and then finally achieved their opening win by beating Hawke's Bay 29-25 on Sunday.


Coach Dave Hewett believes Southland knows they can lift their game by achieving the sort of mindset they showed in the second half of their loss to Wellington last week. Now they are back at home after away games against Tasman and Wellington he is looking forward to an 80-minute effort against the northerners. Missing from the starting side will be co-captain and hooker Flynn Thomas who has had a tough workload. Joe Walsh is out with a dislocated shoulder and Shaun Stodart suffered a head knock.


Loose forward Foto Lokotui is back in the side as the only change from the pack which beat Hawke's Bay at the weekend. He had been out with a leg injury. Sam Henwood is still on the injured list so lock Matiaha Martin will lead the side again while Sam Furniss will play again at No.8. Wing Toni Pulu is out with a knee injury which allows Nigel Ah Wong to take his place. Of great interest will be the prospective debut of All Blacks Sevens player Etene Nanai-Seturo who has had a delayed start to the season due to a hamstring injury. After something of a break this week, Counties Manukau are looking forward to their trip. Coach Darryl Suasua said: "It's been a frenetic first couple of weeks for us, so we have taken stock a bit this week and allowed some niggles to heal. This is our longest trip, so a chance to travel away and spend a couple of nights together as a group, and of course play in a really passionate rugby city is great. We dug deep last week and in the second half started to show what we are capable of."


Southland: 1.Chris Apoua, 2.Andrew Ready, 3.Morgan Mitchell, 4.Ben Fotheringham, 5.Ray Tatafu, 6.Wade McRae, 7.Phil Halder, 8.Bill Fukofuka, 9.Jay Renton, 10.James Wilson, 11.Jackson Ormond, 12.Ray Nu'u. 13.Matt Johnson, 14.Isaac Te Tamaki, 15.Lewis Ormond.

Substitutes: 16.Flynn Thomas, 17.Ethan de Groot, 18.Reuben Northover, 19.Brenton Howden, 20.Jack Capil, 21.Nico Costa, 22.Broc Hooper, 23.Aleki Morris-Lome.

Counties Manukau: 1.Sean Bagshaw, 2.Joseph Royal, 3.Kalolo Tuiloma, 4.Viliame Rarasea, 5.Matiaha Martin (captain), 6.Matt Vaai, 7.Fotu Lokotui, 8.Daniel Hyatt, 9.Te Aihe Toma, 10.Latiume Fosita, 11.Tevita Nabura, 12.Cardiff Vaega, 13.Sam Furniss, 14.Nigel Ah Wong, 15.Luteru Laulala.

Substitutes: 16.Gafatasi Su'a. 17.Mark Royal, 18.Coree Te Whata Colley, 19.Savelio Ropati, 20.Sikeli Nabou, 21.Liam Daniela, 22.Orbyn Leger, 23.Etene Nanai-Seturo.