Preview: Northland v Taranaki

Date published: September 17 2014

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Taranaki coach Colin Cooper has made four changes to his side for Thursday's clash with Northland in Whangarei.

Taranaki coach Colin Cooper has made four changes to his side for Thursday's clash with Northland in Whangarei.

Amongst the backs, Charlie Ngatai returns to the midfield, after he was given a breather against Tasman.

Ngatai's return means Cooper has had to reshuffle his back-line with captain James Marshall switching to full-back and Kurt Baker moving to the right wing.

The only other change to the back-line sees Chris Smylie starting ahead of Jamison Gibson-Park at scrum-half.

And up front, Ryan Cocker starts at tighthead prop with Angus Ta'avao dropping down to the bench while Riki Hoeata starts in the second row after Leighton Proce was ruled out with a leg infection.

Openside flanker Berny Hall is a doubtful starter as he is battling to overcome the flu. If he fails to recover in time, Iopu Iopu-Aso will wear the number seven jersey and Toa Halafihi would come onto the bench.

More to follow…

The teams:

Northland: tbc

Taranaki: 15 James Marshall (c), 14 Kurt Baker, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Berny Hall/Iopu Iupo-Aso, 6 Mitchell Crosswell, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Riki Hoeata, 3 Ryan Cocker, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Replacements: 16 Sione Lea, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Mitchell Brown, 19Iopu Iopu-Aso/Hala Toafihi, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Jackson Ormond, 22 Codey Rei.

Date: Thursday, September 18
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Toll Stadium, Whangarei
Referee: Grant Stuart

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