PREVIEW: Manawatu v Tasman

Getty Images

Monday, September 17, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match details: Manawatu v Tasman, Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North, September 19, 7.35pm

Played: 10
Won: Manawatu 3, Tasman 7
Last time: Manawatu 35-20 Tasman, Palmerston North, August 27, 2017
Referee: Ben O'Keefe 


Manawatu started the season promisingly with a 24-19 win over Waikato at home but then were well beaten by Taranaki in their Ranfurly Shield challenge 21-41. They followed that with a 17-50 loss to Otago before going down to Canterbury 23-34. In their last outing they lost 19-49 in Whangarei to Northland. Tasman made a strong showing to beat Canterbury in their opening game 25-17 and then beat Southland 45-24. They backed that up by beating North Harbour 32-20 but went down to Auckland 10-36. They came back strongly with a 53-17 win over Taranaki in their first home game in Nelson.


Demands of the middle stages of the Mitre 10 Cup campaign have seen changes made to the Manawatu team. Resting will be centre Rob Thompson, lock Nick Crosswell, No.Brice Henderson and flanker Liam Mitchell. Their places have been taken by Hamish Northcott, with James Tofa making his first start at second five-eighths. Back to lock after a four week suspension is Liam Hallam-Eames while at No.8 will be Brad Tucker while Samuel Slade will start on the blindside flank. Much interest will be taken in All Black Jackson Hemopo who has been named on the bench and could well be facing a fitness test ahead of the All Blacks overseas tour to Argentina and South Africa in the absence of Liam Squire who suffered a broken hand in Saturday's Test.


Tasman captain David Havili will have a rare outing at fullback in Wednesday's game with Will Jordan having moved to the bench. Alex Nankivell will start at second five-eighths where Havili has been seen most often for the side. Missing from the lineup are flanker Jed Brown and wing Tima Faingaanuku. However, coach Leon MacDonald has retained key three-quarters centre Levi Aumua and wing Solomon Alaimalo. Tasman will also field a powerful pack with Wyatt Crockett the cornerstone of a strong front row with hooker Andrew Makalio and tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax.


Manawatu have won only three of their last eight games on home turf and will be seeking to avoid back-to-back home losses in a season for the first time since 2015.


Manawatu: 1.Fraser Armstrong, 2.Tim Cadwallader, 3.Michael Alaalatoa, 4.Tom Hughes, 5.Liam Hallam-Eames, 6.Samuel Slade, 7.Antonio Kiri Kiri (captain), 8.Brad Tucker, 9.Jamie Booth, 10.Sam Malcolm, 11.Michael Tagicakibau, 12.James Tofa, 13.Hamish Northcott, 14.Te Rangatira Waitokia, 15.Junior Laloifi.

Substitutes: 16.Sam Stewart, 17.Faalelei Sione, 18.Sione Asi, 19.Jackson Hemopo, 20.Adrian Wyrill, 21.Kayne Hammington, 22.Otere Black, 23.Lefeimi Mafi.

Tasman: 1.Wyatt Crockett, 2.Andrew Makalio, 3.Tyrel Lomax, 4.Pari Pari Parkinson, 5.Quinten Strange, 6.Ethan Blackadder, 7.Sione Havili, 8.Taina Fox-Mataamua, 9.Finlay Christie, 10.Mitchell Hunt, 11.Solomon Alaimalo, 12.Alex Nankivell, 13.Levi Aumua, 14.Jamie Spowart, 15.David Havili (captain).

Substitutes: 16.Ray Nuiua, 17.Ryan Coxon, 18.Blair Prinsep, 19.Mike Curry, 20.John Akauolo-Laula, 21.Jack Grooby, 22.Tim O'Malley, 23.Will Jordan.