Preview: Taranaki v Tasman

Date published: August 31 2012

Taranaki will be on high alert when Tasman visit Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth for Saturday's Ranfurly Shield clash.

Taranaki will be on high alert when Tasman visit Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth for Saturday's Ranfurly Shield clash.

The hosts opened their ITM Cup campaign with a 37-22 win over Bay of Plenty, but the visiting Makos who won't be short of confidence either after knocking over four-times defending champions Canterbury last Friday.

Tasman had to leave it until the last minute to beat the Cantabs 25-22, but few will argue that the better team won and showed this year's team has significantly more to offer than the tired, underpowered 2011 version which finished dead last in the Championships division.

The Amber and Blacks know they'll need to put in an 80-minute performance to keep hold of the famous Log o' Wood.

Providing Taranaki can see off Tasman, they will then face challenges from Hawke's Bay and Canterbury in successive weeks, a tough ask for any side in this competition.

In team news, Taranaki coach Colin Cooper has made six changes to his side.

All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore is a welcome addition to the Taranaki bench, with Laurence Corlett set to start at hooker after recovering from injury.

Other changes from the side that beat Bay of Plenty sees scrum-half Brett Goodin and wing Jackson Ormond promoted to the run-on XV.

Kurt Baker moves from centre to full-back, taking the place of Andre Taylor who picked up a hand injury against the Steamers. The other inclusion is Willie Rickards at centre, making his first start of the year.

Prediction: History is with the Amber and Blacks, with the Makos having beaten them just once in seven attempts dating back to 2006. Taranaki by eight!

The teams:

Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Willie Rickards, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 Frazier Climo, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Chris Walker, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Jason Eaton (c), 4 James Broadhurst, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Laurence Corlett, 1 Chris King.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Carl Carmichael, 18 Kane Barrett, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Brett Goodin, 21 James Marshall, 22 Jackson Ormond.

Tasman: 15 Robbie Malneek, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Bryce Heem, 12 Andrew Goodman (c), 11 James Lowe, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Jeremy Su'a, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 4 Filipo Levi, 3 Campbell Johnstone, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Francis Smith, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Vernon Fredricks, 19 Tevita Kolomatangi, 20 Steve Alfeld, 21 Kieron Fonotia, 22 George Millar.

Referee: Vinny Munro