Waikato coach Chris Gibbes has named an unchanged matchday 22 for Saturday's ITM Cup hit-out against Northland in Hamilton.
Waikato coach Chris Gibbes has named an unchanged matchday 22 for Saturday's ITM Cup hit-out against Northland at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
Last year's finalists opened their 2012 campaign with a six-try win over North Harbour, and will be looking to make it back-to-back wins in their first home game of the season.
However, their second Championship opponents in as many games could give the Mooloos a harder time after running Otago close – losing 34-46.
Northland made a number of changes, mainly in the loose forwards and outside backs – both of which were areas where Otago had an advantage for most of the match.
“I think what's important for us is that we've got to get our game going and we've got to keep building on what we've done,” said Gibbes.
“This 22 will give us that continuity and then, obviously, we've got a short week coming up after Auckland so we've got a couple of weeks to get a few things right before that.”
Waikato: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Tim Mikkelson, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Declan O'Donnell, 10 Sam Christie, 9 Tawera Kerr- Barlow, 8 Alex Bradley (c), 7 Zak Hohneck, 6 Matt Vant Leven, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Chris Middleton, 3 Ben May, 2 Marcel Cummings- Toone, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Kalem Chan Boon, 17 Ted Tauroa, 18 Sam Kilgour, 19 Jono Armstrong, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Piers Francis, 22 Glen Robertson.
Northland: 15 Fa'atoina Autagavaia, 14 Dan Caprice, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Mateo Malupo, 10 Ash Moeke, 9 Samisoni Fisilau, 8 Hale T-Pole, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Dan Faleafa, 5 Bryce Williams (c),4 Jack Whetton, 3 Scott Vessey, 2 David Hall, 1 Matt Wallis.
Replacements: 16 Tone Kopelani, 17 Justin Davies, 18 William Whetton, 19 Jack Ram, 20 Rhyan Caine, 21 Orene Ai'i, 22 Tau Fa'asisila.
Referee: Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri