Planet Rugby

Preview: Hawke's Bay v Auckland

22nd August 2012 14:06

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Daniel Braid

Daniel Braid: Leads Auckland

Hawke's Bay and Auckland kick-off the 2012 ITM Cup at McLean Park in Napier, where both teams will look to open their campaign with a win.

The hosts face a tricky against opening fixture in their first game in the Premiership after winning promotion from the Championship at the end of last season.

Hawke's Bay have proved to be a tough nut to crack at home in the past, but now under a new coach and with 15 players missing from their 2011 squad, Auckland will feel they have a chance at claiming an opening win to boost their confidence for the season ahead.

With the Aucks up against defending champions Canterbury on Wednesday, the visitors will be under no illussions that a winning start away from is crucial.

"If we can get through those first two weeks it will set us up really well. If we don't then we're going to be chasing the pack so it's very important that we get a good start," said Auckland coach Wayne Pivac.

Auckland are undefeated in the pre-season heading into this tournament opener, while the Magpies beat Manawatu and lost to Bay of Plenty.

The last time these two teams met, the played to a 34-34 draw in Auckland (in 2010).

Prediction: The Magpies will have plenty to prove that they belong in the Premiership, but we think Auckland will rain on their hosts' parade with a close win first up. Auckland by four!

The teams:

Hawke's Bay: 15 Gillies Kaka, 14 Tino Nemani, 13 Star Timu, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Waenga, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Mike Coman (capt), 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 5 Maselino Paulino , 4 Ross Kennedy, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Peter Borlase, 18 Kieran Coll, 19 Tivaini Fomai, 20 Isaac Paewai, 21 Tua Saseve, 22 Nick McLennan.

Auckland:15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes , 11 George Moala, 10 Gareth Anscombe 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Daniel Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Andrew Van der Heijden, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina / Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi/ Angus Ta'avao, 18 Nathan Hughes, 19 Sean Polwart, 20 Auvasa Faleali'i, 21 Tony Fenner, 22 Dave Thomas.

Date: Thursday, August 23
Venue: McLean Park, Napier
Kick-off: 19.35

  • ITM Cup Fixtures
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FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
Friday , September 5
Tasman vs Waikato18:05
Northland vs Hawkes Bay20:05
Saturday , September 6
Auckland vs Wellington14:35
Taranaki vs Southland06:35
Sunday , September 7
Manawatu vs Counties Manukau14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs North Harbour16:35
Wednesday, September 10
Otago vs Northland09:35
Thursday , September 11
Tasman vs Taranaki19:35
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FixtureDetails
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ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
Friday , August 29
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
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PosTeamPPts
1Canterbury315
2Taranaki413
3Tasman312
4Waikato49
5Counties Manukau38