PREMIERSHIP PREVIEW: North Harbour v Canterbury

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018    Getty Images

Match details: North Harbour v Canterbury, 7.35pm Wednesday 12 September, QBE Stadium, Albany

Played: 11 (2006-2017)
Won: Canterbury 8, North Harbour 3
Last time: Canterbury 35, North Harbour 24 (21 October 2017)
Referee: Angus Mabey

After dropping their first game of the season to Tasman, Canterbury have rebounded strongly with wins over Wellington, Bay of Plenty and Manawatu to sit at third on the Premiership ladder. North Harbour have had a contrasting start to their season. After winning their opening two matches against Northland and Waikato, the Hibiscus has slipped up against Tasman and Wellington to sit at the foot of the Championship ladder. 


North Harbour’s largely unheralded locking pairing of Gerard Cowley-Tuioti and Ben Nee-Nee have helped North Harbour claim 88% of its lineout ball so far this season. When compared to Canterbury’s success rate of 76% the lineout could become a crucial battleground in this game. With Luke Romano missing from Canterbury’s line up for this match, expect the Hibiscus duo to disrupt Canterbury’s ball whenever they can.

North Harbour have lost their last two games in succession; the last time they lost more was a four-game stretch in 2015.

It’s the start of a crucial round for both teams with two games inside five days. Canterbury have made a number of changes to their run on team and have three debutants on the bench. After dropping their last two games, North Harbour have recognised the importance of this clash and named a strong side. Although Canterbury still go into this clash as favourites, we are picking North Harbour to get up on home turf.

North Harbour:
1: Chris Eves 2: James Parsons 3: Sione Mafileo 4: Gerard Cowley-Tuioti 5: Ben Nee-nee 6: Glenn Preston 7: Murphy Taramai 8: Hapakuki Moala-Liavaa 9: Bryn Hall 10 Bryn Gatland 11 Tevita Li 12: Harrison Groundwater 13: James Dargaville 14: Matt Duffie 15: Shaun Stevenson
Reserves: Luteru Tolai, Mike Tamoaieta, Luatangi Lu, Jacob Pierce, Sione Teu, Lewis Gjaktema, Daniel Hilton Jones, Stuart Dunbar

Canterbury: 1: Alex Hodgman 2: Nathan Vella 3: Sef Fa’agase 4: Hamish Dalzell 5: Mitchell Dunshea 6: Reed Prinsep 7: Tom Christie 8: Whetu Douglas (co-captain) 9: Mitchell Drummond (co-captain) 10: Brett Cameron 11: Caleb Makene 12: Sam Beard 13: Ngane Punavai 14: Josh McKay 15: George Bridge
Reserves: Brodie McAlister, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Chris King, Ben Morris, Hugh Renton, Connor Collins, Phil Burleigh, Filimoni Waqaainabete