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
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki vs Counties Manukau12:00
Friday , August 15
Southland vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Saturday , August 16
Otago vs North Harbour14:35
Canterbury vs Auckland16:35
Wellington vs Waikato16:35
Sunday , August 17
Tasman vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Northland vs Manawatu16:35
Thursday , August 21
North Harbour vs Southland19:35
Friday , August 22
Waikato vs Canterbury18:05
Hawkes Bay vs Taranaki20:05
More ITM Cup fixtures
  • ITM Cup Table
Premiership
ITM Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Wellington1042
2Canterbury1040
3Auckland1036
4Counties Manukau1028
5Waikato1021