Preview: Waikato v Counties

Date published: September 12 2014

Waikato have made three changes to their line-up for their ITM Cup match against a hurting Counties Manukau in Hamilton on Sunday.

Waikato have made three changes to their starting line-up for their ITM Cup fixture against a hurting Counties Manukau in Hamilton on Sunday.

Openside flanker Zak Hohneck and second-row Nick Ross return and Wharenui Hawera is this week given a start at full-back for the Mooloo Men.

On the bench Waikato welcomes back scrum-half Tawera Kerr-Barlow, who has been released from the All Blacks for the match, and he is joined by hooker Hame Faiva, second-row David Morgan and centre Chauncy Edwardson on the pine.

Meanwhile, Counties coach Tana Umaga has made a number of changes to his side following a disappointing performance last week against Manawatu.

Sikeli Nabou starts at lock, Kane Hancy at scrum-half and Sherwin Stowers on the right wing. There have been some position changes as Rey Lee-lo and Bundee Aki swap, with Lee-Lo moving to outside centre and Aki to number twelve while Toni Pulu moves to the right wing.

Sean Bagshaw, Jimmy Tupou and Augustine Pulu are on the replacements bench and they are joined by Andy Muirhead, who gets the opportunity to make his ITM Cup debut.

“We have not been playing at the level we are capable of and have come to expect. This has been frustrating, but we have to readjust our attitude and intensity to put on consistent performances to be proud of,” said Umaga ahead of the game at Waikato Stadium.

The teams:

Waikato: 15 Wharenui Hawera, 14 Declan O'Donnell, 13 Jordan Payne, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Joe Webber, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber capt), 8 Adam Burn 7 Zak Hohneck, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Nick Ross, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Loni Uhila.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 James McGougan, 18 David Morgan, 19 Zane Kapeli, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Chauncy Edwardson, 22 Regan Ware.

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

Date: Sunday, September 14
Kick-off: 14:35 local (03:35 BST, 02:35 GMT)
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe