Auckland coach Wayne Pivac has made three changes to his starting line-up ahead of Wednesday's ITM Cup clash against Taranaki.
Auckland coach Wayne Pivac has made three changes to his team's starting line-up ahead of Wednesday's match against Taranaki at Eden Park.
Andrew van der Heijden returns to the team having recovered from a shoulder injury while Angus Ta'avao and Dave Thomas are promoted from the bench.
Daniel Braid has been named on the bench, having missed the last four games with a groin injury.
“Daniel Braid and Andrew van der Heijden bring a lot of experience. They are part of our leadership group and while they have been playing their part behind the scenes they haven't been out on the field so it's good to have them back,” said Pivac.
The Auckland team has reviewed Friday's loss to Bay of Plenty and Pivac said several players were disappointed with their performances. With a short turnaround against an undefeated Taranaki side, Pivac said Auckland need to bounce back.
“Taranaki remind me of Auckland and Canterbury teams of old,” he said.
“They have the ability to carry the Ranfurly Shield and perform in games when it's not at stake as well. They're very strong up front and have a backline that complements their forward pack.
Auckland: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Dave Thomas, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (c), 11 George Moala, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Andrew van der Heijden, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Angus Ta'avao. Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Nathan Hughes, 19 Daniel Braid, 20 Auvasa Faleali'i, 21 Simon Hickey, 22 Ben Lam.
Date: Wednesday, September 19
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland