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Crossover preview: Otago v Tasman

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Saturday, October 6, 2018    Campbell Burnes    Getty Images

Match details: Sunday October 7, 4.35pm at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Referee: Paul Williams (Taranaki)
Played: 12 (2007-17)
Wins: Otago 7, Tasman 4, Drawn 1
Last time: Tasman 29 Otago 27 (September 16, 2017, crossover)


TALE OF THE TAPE

Tasman has missed just 20 tackles this season and that, allied with the fact that its lineout, spearheaded by Paripari Parkinson, is the best in the Mitre 10 Cup, makes the Mako a difficult team to break down.

The Mako’s recent form against Otago is strong, having clinched four of the last five games.

Most of the other stats are comparable, though Otago has conceded four yellow cards to the Mako’s one this season.

The Mako defeated Wellington 28-22 on the capital last time out, while Otago, which has won five of its last six games, is coming off a remarkable 45-34 defeat of Bay of Plenty at this venue on Wednesday night.
 
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JUICY MATCH-UP

We cannot go past the fullback match-up between Otago’s Vilimoni Koroi and Tasman’s Will Jordan.

The mercurial Koroi was again among the tries in Otago’s midweek victory against Bay of Plenty, and he will bring his offensive spark to most Razorbacks games.

Only five players have run more than his 609m in 2018, including Jordan, who has reached 701m (third), six tries (third equal) and 84 carries (10th). The Mako No 15 was hurt against Wellington last Saturday but has bounced back to fitness.


THE SCOOP

The Razorbacks will introduce some firepower in the second spell, with wing Jona Nareki, who has six tries to his name in 2018, and flanker James Lentjes, in his second outing back from injury, to come off the pine.

Finn Strawbridge slots into the No 10 position in place of Josh Ioane, while Mitchell Scott will captain from the wing. New Zealand Under 20 hooker Ricky Jackson wins a start.

The Mako have again named a strong squad, though Finlay Christie who scored two Duane Monkley Medal points against the Lions, is in the No 21 jersey.

The front-row of Tyrel Lomax, Andrew Makalio and Wyatt Crockett is one of the best in the Mitre 10 Cup and in fact Crockett is still playing well enough, at 35, to be an All Black. He will mark Manu Samoa bookend Donald Brighouse in the scrums.

Expect the squeeze to go on the Otago pack.
TEAMS
Otago:
Vilimoni Koroi, Mitchell Scott (c), Sio Tomkinson, Matt Whaanga, Matt Faddes, Finn Strawbridge, Melani Matavao, Sione Misiloi, Slade McDowall, Naulia Dawai, Josh Larsen, Tom Rowe, Donald Brighouse, Ricky Jackson, Tom Hill
Reserves: Seko Pole, Jonah Aoina, George Bower, Joketani Koroi, James Lentjes, Kurt Hammer, Taylor Haugh, Jona Nareki

Tasman: Will Jordan, Tomas Aoake, Levi Aumua, David Havili (c), Tima Faingaanuku, Mitch Hunt, Jack Grooby, Taina Fox-Matamua, Jacob Norris, Ethan Blackadder, Paripari Parkinson, Quinten Strange, Tyrel Lomax, Andrew Makalio, Wyatt Crockett
Reserves: Ray Niuia, Ryan Coxon, Blair Prinsep, John Akau’ola-Laula, Braden Stewart, Finlay Christie, Timothy O’Malley, Leicester Faingaanuku