Planet Rugby

Preview: Otago v Canterbury

26th August 2011 12:16


ash parker canterbury

Canterbury: One last hurdle

Canterbury travel to the new Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin for their final ITM Cup round-robin game against Otago on Saturday.

As the top team in the Premiership, Canterbury will be favoured to beat Otago - who are in the Championship second tier - and book their place in the final for the fourth time in a row.

But most crossover matches have been highly competitive this year and Canterbury-Otago has the extra edge of being a southern derby.

The hosts will also be up for the game in their first match at Dunedin's new roofed stadium.

In team news, Tom Taylor at full-back in place of the injured Sean Maitland is the only backline change but there will be three different faces in the Canterbury pack.

Discarded All Black Wyatt Crockett returns at loosehead prop for the first time this season, replacing Paea Fa'anunu, whose campaign is over after he had his cheekbone fractured against Bay of Plenty.

Ben Funnell is back at hooker with All Blacks' reserve rake Corey Flynn on World Cup duty.

Otago have made three changes in personnel and two positional from the side that beat Tasman last Sunday. Joe Hill is on the bench this week with Ben Smith taking the vacated wing and Glenn Dickson going to full-back.

The teams:

Otago: 15 Glenn Dickson,14 Ben R Smith,13 Ben Atiga,12 Sam Giddens,11 Buxton Popoali'i,10 Tony Brown, 9 Sean Romans, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Regan Tamihere, 6 TJ Ioane, 5 Tom Donnelly (c), 4 Daniel Ramsay,3 Kees Meeuws, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Scott Manson.
Replacements: 16 Jason MacDonald, 17 Pieter van der Merwe, 18 Rob Verbakel, 19 Paul Grant, 20 Johnny Legg, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Joe Hill, 23 Brett Anderson.

Canterbury: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (c), 5 Ash Parker, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Paul Ngauamo, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Joel Everson, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Takerei Norton, 21 Telusa Veainu, 22 Rhys Llewellyn, 23 Andrew Olorenshaw.

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Recent Results
All times are local
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki 36 - 32 Tasman
Saturday , October 18
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Taranaki 49 - 30 Auckland
Tasman 26 - 6 Canterbury
Friday , October 17
Hawkes Bay 26 - 21 Northland
Sunday , October 12
Taranaki 23 - 26 Canterbury
Tasman 16 - 21 Counties Manukau
Saturday , October 11
Wellington 58 - 34 North Harbour
Hawkes Bay 20 - 20 Southland
Auckland 38 - 10 Northland
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