PREVIEW: Otago v Bay of Plenty

Getty Images

Tuesday, October 2, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match details: Otago v Bay of Plenty, Forsyth Barr Stadium, October 3, 7.35pm

Played: 38
Won: Otago 24, Bay of Plenty 14
Last time: Otago 32-48 Bay of Plenty, October 21, 2017, Tauranga (Championship semi-final)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown

Otago, coming off a rare high as a result of beating Auckland at Eden Park (31-26) will be looking to make a strong finish to the season. They lost their first two games to Wellington (16-34a) and Hawke's Bay (25-31h) but then beat Manawatu (50-17a), Northland (27-23h) and Southland (43-24a) while losing to Auckland 25-47 at home. Bay of Plenty made such a strong start to the season with a 30-10 win over Taranaki at home and away to Counties Manukau (22-17) but since then have lost to Canterbury (19-31h), Hawke's Bay (28-29a), North Harbour (20-32a), Waikato (21-54h) and Manawatu (15-17h).


Injuries have resulted in wing Mitchell Scott being named captain of Otago. Regular leader hooker Sam Anderson-Heather is battling a neck injury while his back up as leader, fullback Michael Collins is suffering from an ankle injury. However, some welcome news for the side is the earlier than expected return of flanker James Lentjes. He suffered a prolapsed disc in his neck while playing for the Highlanders and was expected to miss the Mitre 10 Cup season. He will come off the bench on Wednesday. Fellow flanker Slade McDowell is being rested and Naulia Dawai will start on the openside of the scrum. Sio Tomkinson has a start at second five-eighths with Matt Whaanga on the bench.


Bay of Plenty have been in the wars and confirmed this week that veteran five-eighths Mike Delany's pectoral tear would keep him out for the rest of the season. Jason Robertson broke his fibular against Manawatu and is also out for the year. Solomona Sakalia suffered a partial tear of his Achilles tendon and it is uncertain how long he will be out. Hooker Liam Polwart is suffering a recurring neck injury while Mathew Garland has a hamstring strain. Lalakai Foketi is also out for the rest of the year having suffered a stress fracture in his lower leg and he faces surgery. Also out for the remainder of the campaign are Aidan Ross with an ankle injury and Seb Siataga with a wrist issue.


Otago have been having alternate results at home in their previous 12 games, their last game being a lost to Canterbury while Bay of Plenty are on a five-game losing streak and are the only side without a try scoring bonus point this year.


Otago: 1.Tom Hill, 2.Sekonaia Pole, 3.Hisa Sasaga, 4.Tom Rowe, 5.Josh Dickson, 6.Joketani Koroi, 7.Naulia Dawai, 8.Dylan Nel, 9.Kurt Hammer, 10.Josh Ioane, 11.Jona Nareki, 12.Patelesio Tomkinson, 13.Matt Faddes, 14.Mitchell Scott (captain), 15.Vilimoni Koroi.

Substitutes: 16.Ricky Jackson, 17.Jonah Aoina, 18.Don Brighouse, 19.Josh Larsen, 20.Sione Misiloi, 21.James Lentjes, 22.Melani Matavao, 23.Matt Whaanga.

Bay of Plenty: 1.James Lay, 2.Tom Crozier, 3.Ross Geldenhuys, 4.Baden Wardlaw, 5.Kane Leaupepe, 6.Tyler Ardron, 7.Mitchell Karpik, 8.Hoani Matenga, 9.Richard Judd, 10.Kaleb Trask, 11.Bailey Simonsson, 12.Terrence Hepetema, 13.Liam Steel, 14.Fa'asiu Fuatai, 15.Chase Tiatia.

Substitutes: 16.Angus McDonald, 17.Josh Davey, 18.Jeff Thwaites, 19.Aaron Carroll, 20.Zane Kapeli, 21.Luke Campbell, 22.Reece MacDonald, 23.Lalamilo Lalamilo.