Crossover preview: Canterbury v Hawke’s Bay
Saturday, September 29, 2018 Campbell Burnes Getty Images
Referee: James Doleman (Otago)
Played: 57 (1887-2017)
Wins: Canterbury 33, Hawke’s Bay 21, Drawn 3
Last match: Canterbury 53 Hawke’s Bay 10 (September 1, 2017, crossover)
The defending champion Canterbury has suffered two defeats in its seven games, to Tasman and Auckland, but hit its straps last weekend in beating Otago 47-25.
In last year’s corresponding fixture, 21 points by Brett Cameron and a brace to Braydon Ennor, both playing again this time round, were the highlights of Canterbury’s comfortable 53-10 win over the Magpies.
Hawke’s Bay suffered a 51-34 loss to North Harbour in a remarkable game last Saturday and then on Wednesday night, in an even more remarkable game at the same venue, took the full five points in a 55-41 victory over Northland.
QUICK TAP: MANAWATU DEFY HISTORY FOR WIN
MIX AND MATCH
Canterbury has chosen a stronger team than the visitors, with coach Joe Maddock making four changes from the side that dispatched Otago.
Billy Harmon comes into the No 6 jersey, meaning the red and blacks should be able to command breakdown ball. Ngane Punivai shifts to the left wing in place of the injured Caleb Makene.
William Tucker, a lock out of St Bede’s College, is set for a debut off the bench, as is outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, son of Stephen and younger brother of Jackson.
Magpies coach Mark Ozich has five of his 2017 Hastings BHS First XV players in the match-day 23, with the exciting halves combination of Folau Fakatava and Lincoln McClutchie pairing up again. NZ Under 20s rep Devan Flanders is at No 8, while hooker Kianu Kereru-Symes and Danny Toala will seek to add impact off the bench.
Lock Tom Parsons assumes the captaincy as Ozich opts for rotation.
RAISING THE CURTAIN
The JJ Stewart Trophy goes on the line in the Farah Palmer Cup curtainraiser, which is a repeat of the 2017 Premiership final between Canterbury and Counties Manukau. Both teams are locked on 17 points at the top of the standings (as of the start of the round).
Watch for Kendra Cocksedge against Arihiana Marino-Tahinu in the battle of the No 9s in this 11.35am kickoff.
PREVIEW | Who comes out on top when Premiership high-flyers @WgtnRugby and @TasmanMako collide? Get the lowdown with our match preview!THE SCOOP
READ ?? https://t.co/TpqkQEvUPe#WElvTAS pic.twitter.com/Y7LsQHERjo— Mitre 10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) September 29, 2018
Historically and in more recent times Canterbury has had the wood on Hawke’s Bay, and has gone undefeated the last 11 competition games between the provinces.
The home side will be seeking to avoid straight losses at home for the first time in four years, but the Magpies have shown improved road form, winning two of the three games in 2018.
Luke Romano and George Bridge are never afraid to roll up the sleeves and look for work, with 84 and 81 carries respectively, the top two in Mitre 10 Cup after six rounds.
Stung by the home defeat to Auckland a fortnight ago, it is reasonable to assume Canterbury will look to apply pressure through the pack and its tactical kicking game on the Magpies youngsters.
Canterbury: George Bridge, Josh McKay, Braydon Ennor, Phil Burleigh, Ngane Punivai, Brett Cameron, Mitch Drummond (c), Reed Prinsep, Tom Christie, Billy Harmon, Mitch Dunshea, Luke Romano, Sef Fa’agase, Brodie McAlister, Alex Hodgman
Reserves: Nathan Vella, Harrison Allan, Chris King, Will Tucker, Hugh Renton, Connor Collins, Sam Beard, Connor Garden-Bachop
Hawke’s Bay: JJ Taulagi, Jonah Lowe, Shae Tucker, Sasa Tofilau, Michael Buckley, Lincoln McClutchie, Folau Fakatava, Devan Flanders, Josh Kaifa, Geoff Cridge, Sam Ulufonua, Tom Parsons (c), Joe Apikatoa, Ben Power, Jason Long
Reserves: Kianu Kereru-Symes, Mark Braidwood, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Michael Allardice, Api Funaki, Brad Weber, Danny Toala, Mason Emerson
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