PREVIEW: Manawatu v Southland

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Friday, October 12, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match details: Manawatu v Southland, Central Energy Trust Arena, 4.35pm, Sunday, October 14

Played: 46
Won: Manawatu 25, Southland 18, Draws 3
Last time: Manawatu 25-20 Southland, Invercargill, September 30, 2017
Referee: Paul Williams


Manawatu started the season with a 24-19 win over Waikato but then lost their next six games to: Taranaki (21-41), Otago (17-50), Canterbury (23-34), Northland (19-49), Tasman (19-29) and Wellington (7-49) before winning in Rotorua to beat Bay of Plenty 17-15. However, they lost their last game to Hawke's Bay 17-45. Southland started their season of nine consecutive losses with a 10-31 loss to Hawke's Bay, with other losses being; Tasman (24-45), Wellington (7-52), Counties Manukau (26-43), Otago (24-43), Northland (10-26), Waikato (11-42), Bay of Plenty (22-26), Auckland (8-56).


Just when Southland might have been hopeful for a break in their bad luck, news emerged that Manawatu will be fielding three of their All Blacks in Sunday's game. Ngane Laumape, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Jackson Hemopo have been included. Manawatu have their own reasons for wanting a good performance having won only two games themselves. The return of their All Blacks is timely as they are without lock Tom Hughes with a pectoral muscle strain while Taranaki loan player, flanker Adrian Wyrill, has returned up the road to New Plymouth. Hemopo's positioning on the blindside flank has seen Liam Mitchell move to lock while Sam Slade will play No.8.


Changes to the side which lost to Auckland see Shaun Stodart, Jesse MacDonald and Mitchell Morgan starting in the front row with hooker Andrew Ready and prop Chris Apoua dropping to the bench. Ben Fotheringham returns at lock for Brenton Howden. Tony Lamborn will play at No.8 allowing Raymond Tatafu to start on the blindside of the scrum. James Wilson will be back at first five-eighths with Ray Nu'u at second five-eighths and Matthew Johnson at centre. Isaac Te Tamaki will start on the wing.


Manawatu will be hoping to make the most of the fact they have won five of their last six games against Southland. Having lost their last three home games, they can avoid losing four consecutive home games in a season for the first time since 2012.


Manawatu: 1.Fraser Armstrong, 2.Sam Stewart, 3.Michael Alaalatoa, 4.Liam Mitchell, 5.Nick Crosswell, 6.Jackson Hemopo, 7. Antonio Kiri Kiri (captain), 8.Sam Slade, 9.Kayne Hammington, 10.Otere Black, 11.Junior Laloifi, 12.Ngani Laumape, 13.Rob Thompson, 14.Nehe Milner-Skudder, 15.Sam Malcolm.

Substitutes: 16.Gene Syminton, 17.Sean Paranihi, 18.Sione Asi, 19.Liam Hallam-Eames, 20.Brice Henderson, 21.Jamie Booth, 22.Jade Te Rure, 23.Hamish Northcott.

1.Ethan de Groot, 2.Jesse MacDonald, 3.Mitchell Morgan, 4.Ben Fotheringham, 5.Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 6.Raymond Tatafu, 7.Phil Halder, 8.Tony Lamborn, 9.Nicolas Costa, 10.James Wilson, 11.Rory van Vugt, 12.Raymond Nu'u, 13.Matthew Johnson, 14.Isaac Te Tamaki, 15.Lewis Ormond.

Substitutes: 16.Andrew Ready, 17.Joseph Walsh, 18.Christopher Apoua, 19.Bill Fukofuka, 20.Viliama Tosi, 21.Jay Renton, 22.Broc Hooper, 23.Aleki Morris-Lome.