Preview: Counties v Canterbury

Date published: September 18 2014

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Canterbury head coach Scott Robertson has made three changes to his starting XV that will face Counties Manukau in Pukekohe on Friday.

Canterbury coach Scott Robertson has made three changes to his starting XV that will take on Counties Manukau.

The win over Wellington was their fifth straight in the competition and they will fancy their chances against a side with just one victory in 2014.

Siate Tokolahi comes in at looshead for the game alongside hooker Ben Funnell, who rotates with Codie Taylor, who went very well last weekend.

Meanwhile, the only change to the backline is on the left wing, where Johnny McNicholl returns from injury. Richie Mo'unga will continue at fifteen.

There is also a possible return to action via the bench for second-row Dominic Bird while centre Adam Whitelock will play his fiftieth game.

Meanwhile, the Steelers have made a number of changes to their starting line-up as Jordan Taufua moves to the blindside flank. Maama Vaipulu starts in his place at number eight.

Augustine Pulu is scrum-half with Ahsee Tuala alongside him in the number 10 jersey. They are joined in the backline by Toni Pulu on the left wing and Frank Halai on the right while midfield duo Bundee Aki and Rey Lee-Lo swap positions back to inside and outside centre.

Sherwin Stowers returns from sevens duty and is named on Counties' bench where he is joined by Michael Stanley, Kane Hancy and Onosa'i Auva'a in Pukekohe on Friday.

The match will be the 50th game for lock Ronald Raaymakers.

The teams:

Counties Manukau: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams (c), 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rey Lee-lo, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Ahsee Tuala, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Dan Hyatt, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sikeli Nabou, 4 Ronald Raaymakers, 3 Jarrod Firth, 2 Suliasi Taufalele, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Sione Anga'aelangi, 17 Sean Bagshaw, 18 Viliami Rarasea, 19 Onosa'i Auva'a, 20 Kane Hancy, 21 Michael Stanley, 22 Sherwin Stowers.

Canterbury: 15 Richie Mo'unga, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Willi Heinz (c), 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Joel Everson, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Siate Tokolahi.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Dominic Bird, 19 Tom Sanders, 20 Mitchell Drummond, 21 Brett Mather, 22 Luteru Laulala.

Date: Friday, September 19
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: ECOlight Stadium, Auckland
Referee: Glen Jackson

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