Preview: Canterbury v Waikato

Date published: August 28 2013

All Black squad members Colin Slade and Luke Whitelock return to the Canterbury team that will face Waikato on Thursday.

All Black squad members Colin Slade and Luke Whitelock return to the Canterbury team that will face Waikato in the ITM Cup on Thursday.

The pair missed last week's victory over Tasman due to international commitments but return to the fray after being released for provincial action.

Slade comes in at full-back in place of Jamie Verran who drops to the bench, while Whitelock slots in at number eight, relegating Jordan Taufua to the replacements.

Joe Moody has been ruled out of the encounter due to injury and his spot at loosehead prop is taken by Para Fa'anunu.

Coach Scott Robertson has continued his scrum-half rotation policy, with Willie Heinz getting a run this week at the expense of Andy Ellis.

Waikato coaches John Walters and Carl Hoeft have made nine changes to the team that surrendered the Ranfurly Shield to Otago last week.

Skipper Matt Vant Leven will miss the remainder of the season due to a finger injury while Jack Lam has returned to Samoa to attend to a family issue. Four unnamed players have also been disciplined for breaking team protocol.

Zak Hohneck has recovered from a knee injury in time to replace Vant Leven and Lam's spot on the flank is taken by youngster Adam Burn. In the only other change to the pack, prop Ben Tameifuna comes in for Paul Alo-Emile.

There are a raft of changes among the backs, with scrum-half Kylem O'Donnell the only man to retain his place.

O'Donnell will partner Wharenui Hawera in the half-backs while new captain Jackson Willison shifts to outside centre to accommodate the arrival of Joe Perawiti in the number 12 jersey.

Save Tokula moves from the midfield to the wing where he is joined by Semisi Masirewa who gets his first ITM Cup start. Masirewa's promotion sees Joe Webber move to full-back.

Canterbury: 15.Colin Slade, 14.Patrick Osborne, 13.Adam Whitelock, 12.Ryan Crotty, 11.Milford Keresoma, 10.Tyler Bleyendaal, 9.Willi Heinz, 8.Luke Whitelock, 7.Matt Todd, 6.George Whitelock (captain), 5.Matt Symons, 4.Joel Everson, 3.Nepo Laulala, 2.Ben Funell, 1.Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacements: 16.Marcel Cummings-Toone, 17.Sione Faletau, 18.Luke Katene, 19.Jordan Taufua, 20.Andy Ellis, 21.Jamie Verran, 22.Belgium Tuatagaloa.

Waikato: 15.Joe Webber, 14.Semisi Masirewa, 13.Jackson Willison, 12.Joe Perawiti, 11.Save Tokula, 10.Wharenui Hawera, 9.Kylem O'Donnell, 8.Adam Burn, 7.Zak Hohneck, 6.Rory Grice, 5.Sam Kilgour, 4.Brian Alainu'uese, 3.Ben Tameifuna, 2.Brayden Mitchell, 1.Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16.Vance Elliott, 17.Paul Alo-Emile, 18.Nick Ross, 19.Jono Armstrong, 20.Mick Snowden, 21.Tim Mikkelson, 22.Trent Renata.

Date: Thursday, August 29
Kick-off: 19:35
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Referee: Glen Jackson