Preview: Wellington v North Harbour

Date published: October 10 2014

Wellington will be lifted by the return from All Blacks duty of TJ Perenara for their ITM Cup clash with North Harbour at Westpac Stadium.

Wellington are boosted by the return from All Blacks duty of TJ Perenara for their ITM Cup match against North Harbour at Westpac Stadium.

The struggling Lions will continue to be led by captain and flank Brad Shields, who has been cleared from a chest injury to start on Saturday.

Joining him will be Motu Matu’u, Ross Filipo, and Jason Woodward, who have all also been cleared following the squad’s clarity run on Friday.

Meanwhile for Northland, Mike Farmer is back at lock where he will pair up with Hayden Triggs who captains Harbour for the second straight game due to Bryn Hall’s unavailability through injury.

Jordan Manihera makes a timely return from injury, replacing Brandon Nansen who suffered a broken leg in Whangarei. Manihera is set to partner Zak Judge in the loose forwards.

In the backline Luke Devcich is back from injury, replacing Nafi Tuitavake on the right wing.

Should North Harbour beat the Lions, there’s a good chance the province will make the top four in the Championship for the first time since the competition’s restructure back in 2011.

The teams:

Wellington: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Shaun Treeby, 12 Marvin Karawana, 11 Afa Fa’atau, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Adam Hill, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Eric Sione, 2 Motu Matu’u, 1 Tolu Fahamokioa.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Taniela Koroi, 18 James Wall, 19 Pau Halafihi, 20 Frae Wilson, 21 Ope Peleseuma, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop.

North Harbour: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Luke Devcich, 13 Matt Vaega, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Matt McGahan, 9 David Bason/Luke Hamilton, 8 Jimmy Tuivaiti, 7 Zak Judge, 6 Jordan Manihera, 5 Hayden Triggs (c), 4 Mike Farmer, 3 Nic Mayhew, 2 James Parsons, 1 Greg Pleasants-Tate.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Smith, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Gerard Tuioti-Mariner, 19 Josh Blucher, 20 Luke Hamilton/Raniera Takarangi, 21 Dan Halangahu, 22 Nafi Tuitavake.

Date: Saturday, October 11
Kick-off: 14:35 local (03:35 BST, 02:35 GMT)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown