Auckland head coach Wayne Pivac has named an unchanged starting line-up for their Round Seven ITM Cup game against Bay of Plenty.
Auckland head coach Wayne Pivac has named an unchanged starting line-up for their Round Seven ITM Cup clash at Bay of Plenty in Rotorua on Friday.
18-year-old Joe Edwards has been named on the bench with the hope he will be cleared to play by the NZRU after having already played his allotted two games as an under-age player.
The sole change to the matchday 22 comes on the replacements bench where back-up fly-half Tony Fenner replaces Simon Hickey.
Having won three of the opening four games, head coach Pivac said he was very happy with the way his young side was performing.
“Obviously things have picked up since the Canterbury game and we've been doing a lot of work in different areas of our game and we think we're making slight improvements each week,” he said.
“We've been able to get alot of young guys out there as well which has been good to blood a few new players so we're pretty happy with where we're at at the moment.”
Pivac said he was expecting a “big contest” from Bay of Plenty who suffered their third loss of the season last night, going down to Waikato 15-6.
“We've got Paul Feeney in our coaching group who has been apart of the side for the last three years so we know a lot about them,” he continued.
“There are some quality players there, they haven't hit their straps in the last few weeks but they are the sort of side that at some stage someone will pay and we're hoping it won't be us on Friday.
“Certainly they're at the stage now where it's a must-win game for their top four aspirations but also you'll be looking over your shoulder at relegation so they've got a hell of a lot to play for, as do we, so we expect a good contest.”
Meanwhile, Steamers coach Kevin Schuler has rung the changes to his side. Loosehead prop Greg Pleasants-Tate returns to the team, with Dan Goodwin being promoted from the bench against Waikato to start at number six.
Positional changes see skipper Tanerau Latimer switch to the openside flank with Luke Braid moving to the back of the scrum.
In the backline Phil Burleigh moves to fly-half, Nick McCashin takes up the full-back role with Kenny Lynn switching to centre, while Jack Wilson will start on the left wing. On the bench John Pareanaga is the replacement hooker with Keepa Mewett returning to the team.
This will be the Steamers' third game in eight days.
Bay of Plenty: 15 Nick McCashin, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Mafi Kefu, 11 Jack Wilson, 10 Phil Burleigh, 9 Josh Hall, 8 Luke Braid, 7 Tanerau Latimer (capt), 6 Dan Goodwin, 5 Leon Power, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Daniel Perrin, 1 Greg Pleasants-Tate.
Replacements: 16 John Pareanga, 17 Mike Kainga, 18 Keepa Mewett, 19 Jesse Acton, 20 Lewis Hancock, 21 Simon Rolleston, 22 Lance MacDonald.
Auckland: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (capt), 11 George Moala, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Sean Brookman, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Nathan Hughes, 19 Joe Edwards, 20 Auvasa Faleali'i, 21 Tony Fenner, 22 Dave Thomas.
Date: Friday, September 14
Kick-off: 18:05 local (07:05 BST, 06:05 GMT)
Venue: Rotorua International Stadium