Preview: Canterbury v Manawatu

Date published: September 24 2013

Canterbury have named a much-changed starting line-up for their ITM Cup clash with Manawatu in Christchurch on Wednesday.

Canterbury have announced a much-changed starting XV for their ITM Cup clash with Manawatu on Wednesday.

Injuries as well as the decision to rest some players means that only one member of the starting fifteen – Patrick Osborne on the right wing – will remain in the same position as they were in for Saturday's disappointing loss to Wellington.

It is an entirely new front-row, with Paea Fa'anunu back in the number one jersey, Ben Funnell returning to hooker and Sione Faletau making his first start for Canterbury as tighthead prop.

Luke Katene returns at lock this week but moves one place to number five and will partner up with Joel Everson rather than Matt Symons on Wednesday.

George Whitelock is being rested for the match, which sees younger brother Luke come into the XV at blindside flanker. That also sees half-back Andy Ellis pick up the captaincy duties.

Matt Todd will also sit this match out after suffering a pectoral injury on Saturday, so Jed Brown comes in at number seven.

Returning from injury this week is number eight, Nasi Manu. He injured his foot during the opening rounds of the Super Rugby season this year, but is now fully rehabilitated.

Injuries to both Colin Slade and Tyler Bleyendaal, plus the call-up of Tom Taylor to the All Blacks, mean fly-half Richie Mo'unga will make his first start for Canterbury and pick up the kicking duties. Johnny McNicholl will move to full-back for this match, and Milford Keresoma takes his place on the left wing.

Ryan Crotty also makes a positional shift from twelve to thirteen, and Rob Thompson will be alongside him. Meanwhile, Mitchell Graham and Mitchell Drummond both have the opportunity to earn their first Canterbury caps if they come off the bench.

Manawatu are also hit by injuries and name a side full of changes for the clash.

New Zealand U20s hooker Nick Grogan will get a start and a chance to show he is up to eventually succeeding the ever dependable Rob Foreman. Hubert Buydens will start in place of Jared Brock while in-form Chris Eves maintains his spot at tighthead.

In the engine room Dan Squire will start alongside Fraser Stone, the Kia Toa team-mates will both be looking to help settle what has been an erratic line-out display so far.

Nick Crosswell will captain the side and return to his favoured blindside position while Heiden Bedwell Curtis will be rested with a chance to come off the bench.

The backline sees the most changes with Nic Stirzaker starting over the injured Papa Wharewera. Nate George will run on in the ten jersey and the ever improving Jade Te Rure will play at full-back with both Lewis Marshall and Nehe Milner Skudder both ruled out.

The teams:

Canterbury: 15 Jonny McNicholl, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Milford Keresoma, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Jed Brown, 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Luke Katene, 4 Joel Everson, 3 Sione Faletau, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacemenets: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Graham Mitchell, 18 Matt Symons, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Mitchell Drummond, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Adam Whitelock.

Manawatu: 15 Jade Te Rure, 14 Leroy Van Dam, 13 Nico Malo, 12 Hamish Northcott, 11 Tomasi Cama, 10 Nate George, 9 Nick Stirzaker, 8 James Oliver, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Fraser Stone, 4 Dan Squire, 3 Chris Eves, 2 Nick Grogan, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Rob Foreman, 17 Damian Horgan, 18 Mike Fitzgerald, 19 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 20 Ben Edwards, 21 Tevita Taufu'i, 22 Newton Tudreu.

Date: Wednesday, September 25
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Chris Pollock