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Preview: Tasman v Hawke's Bay

16th August 2014 08:56

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Shane Christie Tasman ITM Cup 2013

Shane Christie: Leads a powerful Tasman side

Shane Christie will lead a powerful Tasman side in their ITM Cup opener against Hawke's Bay in Blenheim on Sunday.

This clash is a repeat of last year's Championship Final - won 26-25 by the Makos - and Tasman will be determined to hit the ground running after their promotion to the Premiership.

Tasman coaches Kieran Keane and Leon MacDonald have picked several of the players which secured them promotion.

Openside flanker Christie is joined in the back row by Chiefs team-mates Liam Squire and Tevita Koloamatangi while Joe Wheeler and Alex Ainley pack down in the second row.

In the front row, hooker Quentin MacDonald and loosehead prop Tim Perry are joined by South African tighthead Ross Geldenhuys, who has represented the Lions at Super Rugby level.

There's a surprise in the back-line, with former All Blacks scrum-half Jimmy Cowan - who joined Tasman from Aviva Premiership side Gloucester - confined to the replacements bench while Billy Guyton starts in the number nine jersey.

Keane explained his reasoning behind the selection.

"Billy is the incumbent," he told the Nelson Mail.

"We've got a new man who has come into the region and is learning our game, our structures.

"It just made sense to me to have the incumbent starting. Jimmy has the ability to close out games as well, there are some real plusses there for us.

"Early in the season we feel a little bit underdone, so it's better to go with the familiar."We made a conscious effort to go with the people who played in the [2013] final.

"It's probably more about familiarity at this stage, people who know how each other plays, rather than injecting new blood.

"It makes life a little bit easier for the players and takes away some of the clutter that exists at the moment."

Marty Banks is at fly-half for Tasman alongside Tom Marshall and Kieron Fonotia, who form a dangerous midfield combination. Ryan Tongia starts at full-back while Richard Buckman and Mitchell Scott are on the wings.

For Hawke's Bay the big news is that Chiefs centre Robbie Fruean will make his debut in this fixture. He is joined in midfield by Andrew Horrell while

The back three comprises of Ryan Tongia at full-back and Richard Buckman and Mikey Vuicakau on the wings, while Blues pivot Ihaia West Western Force scrum-half Chris Eaton are the halfbacks.

Up front, openside flanker Brendon O'Connor leads the team while Gareth Evans and Trent Boswell-Wakefield are his fellow loose forwards.

Mark Abbott and Mike Allardice are the starting locks while hooker Ash Dixon packs down alongside Jason Marshall and Brendon Edmonds in the front row.

The teams:

Tasman: 15 James Lowe, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 Mitchell Scott, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Billy Guyton, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Shane Christie (c), 6 Tevita Koloamatangi, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Jesse MacDonald, 17 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 18 Tevita Cavubati, 19 Vernon Fredericks, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 David Havili, 22 Ben Tyler.

Hawke's Bay: 15 Ryan Tongia, 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Mikey Vuicakau, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Brendon O'Connor (c), 6 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Mike Allardice, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Adrian Barone, 18 Tom Parsons, 19 Tony Lamborn, 20 Ellery Wilson, 21 Jason Shoemark, 22 Matt Berquist.

Date: Sunday, August 17
Kick-off: 14:35 local (03:35 BST, 02:35 GMT)
Venue: Lansdowne Park, Blenheim
Referee: Glen Jackson

  • ITM Cup Fixtures
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FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Sunday , September 21
Otago vs WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Preview
Wellington vs TasmanWellington vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
Friday , September 26
Taranaki vs Auckland19:35
Saturday , September 27
Waikato vs Manawatu14:35
Counties Manukau vs Wellington17:35
North Harbour vs Hawkes Bay19:35
Sunday , September 28
Tasman vs Otago14:35
Canterbury vs Southland16:35
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ITM Cup
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
Sunday , September 14
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
Saturday , September 13
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
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Premiership 2014
ITM Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Canterbury628
2Taranaki727
3Tasman622
4Auckland620
5Waikato615