Planet Rugby

Preview: Waikato v Taranaki

20th July 2011 13:37

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At home: Waikato tackle Taranaki

Waikato host an injury-hit Taranaki outfit in their first ITM Cup home game of the season in Hamilton on Thursday.

The Mooloo Men are out to make it two wins on the trot in this Round Two clash, while the Amber and Blacks will need to dig deep if they are to bounce back from last week's opening defeat to Wellington.

It's been a disruptive week for Taranaki coach Colin Cooper, who has had to deal with injuries to another specialist full-back Kurt Baker (shoulder) who joins Scott Ireland (concussion) on the casualty list.

No sooner had Baker returned from a lengthy injury lay-off, the Highlanders number 15 lands himself back on the sidelines. Cooper also has had to rope in a replacement for injured replacement Frazer Climo (hamstring).

Cooper also loses hooker Andrew Hore to the All Blacks, with no chance of getting lock Jarrad Hoeata back who starts alongside Hore in Friday's Test against Fiji.

The solution sees Cooper pushing Andre Taylor to the back and bringing in young New Zealand Sevens representative Jackson Ormond on the wing, who makes his debut. While up front, Laurence Corlett take over hooking duties.

Waikato, who will need to watch their discipline after losing two players to the bin against Southland following punch-ups, are without wing Sitiveni Sivivatu who has also joined the All Blacks this week.

Coach Chris Gibbes has made only three changes from last Friday with prop Toby Smith, number eight Rory Grice and winger Henry Speight coming into the starting line-up in place of Ben May, Alex Bradley and Sivivatu respectively.

Waikato currently holds the Ryan Wheeler Memorial Trophy after reclaiming the trophy in their pre-season clash two weeks ago and Taranaki will be out to regain it.

"Tomorrow's game against Taranaki will be a cracker," said Waikato head coach Chris Gibbes.

"We are looking forward to the challenge that Taranaki will bring. They are a physical side and the games between the two teams are always a fierce battle.

"They will be keen to get a result up here as they did last year, so it all bodes well for an intense, physical game and the boys are looking forward to our first home game of the season."

The teams:

Waikato: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Jackson Willison, 11 Declan O'Donnell, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Rory Grice, 7 Marty Holah, 6 Matt Vant Leven, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Nathan White, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Marcel Cummings-Toone/Ted Tauroa, 17 Ben May, 18 Jack Lam, 19 Chris Middleton, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Tim Mikkelson, 23 Latu Talakai.

Taranaki: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Isaia Tuifua, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 Jackson Ormond, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Tyson Keats, 8 Samuela Vunisa, 7 Scott Waldrom, 6 Ben Souness, 5 Craig Clarke (c), 4 Jason Eaton, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Laurence Corlett, 1 Carl Carmichael.
Replacements: 16 Timo Tutavaha, 17 Shane Cleaver, 18 Blade Thomson, 19 Chris Walker, 20 Brett Goodin, 21 Jack Cameron, 22 Willie Rickards, 23 Willie Ioane.

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ITM Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Wellington1042
2Canterbury1040
3Auckland1036
4Counties Manukau1028
5Waikato1021