Crossover preview: Tasman v Hawke’s Bay

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018    Campbell Burnes    Getty Images

Match details: Thursday October 11, 7.35pm at Trafalgar Park, Nelson
Referee: Mike Fraser (Wellington)
Played: 9 (2007-16)
Wins: Tasman 7, Hawke’s Bay 2
Last match: Tasman 36 Hawke’s Bay 29 (September 24, 2016, Premiership)


Other than what appears to be an aberration against Auckland, Tasman has a good case for being the form team of the Mitre 10 Cup.

The Mako have racked up five straight wins and are coming off a 47-21 dismantling of Otago in Dunedin in which fullback Will Jordan, with a brace, moved up to nine tries for the season.

The Magpies, as befitting such a young team, have been somewhat inconsistent, but they have shown glimpses of what the future will hold with their 5-4 record. They have scored 43 tries, which is three more than the Mako.

The last six encounters between these two sides have gone the way of the Mako, and they will surely be favourites in their third and final outing at Trafalgar Park this season.


Respective coaches Leon MacDonald and Mark Ozich have made some interesting calls for their numbers 16-23, their game closers.

Leicester Faingaanuku, who is the younger brother of Tima, is the Mako outside back cover, and he can shift.

The Hawke’s Bay bench is a compelling mixture of former NZ Under 20s with former NZ Schools and Hastings BHS talent from 2017. The latest is replacement prop Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe, who scored the match-clinching try of the 2017 Top 4 First XV final.

Tom Parsons, Geoff Cridge and Mason Emerson are experienced trump cards for Ozich and the Magpies.


It is no secret that Tasman’s pack is a strength. But did you know that in Paripari Parkinson (41) and Quinten Strange (31), the Mako have the only two players who have won more than 30 lineouts in the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup?

Tasman’s overall lineout success is at 90 percent, just ahead of Hawke’s Bay’s 87 percent.

Magpies coach Mark Ozich has two just selected Manu Samoa players in his ranks – fullback JJ Taulagi, who has been at his mercurial best this season, and first five Stacey Ili, who moves in from the centres. There is no Gareth Evans or Ash Dixon, so Michael Allardice is the older head in the pack. Former Auckland lock Sam Ulufonua has much to prove.

In the Mako squad, Solomon Alaimalo is back, this time at centre, as is the veteran lock Alex Ainley. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to work out that the Mako will look to target Hawke’s Bay through the forwards.

Brad Weber should have a fascinating tussle with Finlay Christie in the halves.

Will Jordan, Tomas Aoake, Solomon Alaimalo, Tim O’Malley, Tima Faingaanuku, Mitch Hunt, Finlay Christie, Michael Curry, Jed Brown, Ethan Blackadder, Paripari Parkinson, Alex Ainley, Tyrel Lomax, Andrew Makalio, Wyatt Crockett
Reserves: Ray Niuia, Ryan Coxon, Isaac Salmon, John Akau’ola-Laula, Braden Stewart, Jack Grooby, Rupena Parkinson, Leicester Faingaanuku

Hawke’s Bay: JJ Taulagi, Jonah Lowe, Sasa Tofilau, Danny Toala, Michael Buckley, Stacey Ili, Brad Weber (c), Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Josh Kaifa, Devan Flanders, Michael Allardice, Sam Ulufonua, Joe Apikatoa, Kianu Kereru-Symes, Jason Long
Reserves: Pouri Rakete-Stones, Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe, Mark Braidwood, Tom Parsons, Geoff Cridge, Folau Fakatava, Lincoln McClutchie, Mason Emerson