Planet Rugby

ITM Cup Preview: Friday

23rd August 2012 10:22

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Tikoirotuma turbos

Charged up: Turbos centre Tikoirotuma

Wellington get their 2012 ITM Cup campaign under way with a tough crossover clash against Manawatu at FMG Stadium in Palmertson North on Friday.

When these two sides met last year, the Turbos silenced the Lions with a 31-25 win in Wellington. So the men from the New Zealand capital will be on high alert heading into their tournament opener against last year's Championship finalists.

However, the visitors did get the better of their hosts in the pre-season.

Manawatu enter this clash minus two of their biggest stars - Aaron Smith and Aaron Cruden, who are both on All Blacks duty. But the home side still includes Highlanders blindside Nick Crosswell and prop Ma'afu Fia, as well as Chiefs wing Asaeli Tikoirotuma and lock Mike Fitzgerald.

There are seven Wellington debutants in the Lions' 22 - four of the first timers are in the starting line-up, including Ardie Savea (brother of Julian), who'll wear the number eight jersey.

Ex-All Blacks lock Ross Filipo will play his 50th match for Wellington in what is in first in New Zealand in four years. Tim Bateman plays his first match for the Lions at fly-half, and it will be interesting to see how the former Canterbury centre adapts in that position.

The teams:

Wellington: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Matt Proctor, 10 Tim Bateman, 9 Frae Wilson, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Scot Fuglistaller, 6 Mark Reddish, 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Jeremy Thrush (c), 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Arden David-Perrot, 18 Whetu Henry, 19 Lua Lokotui, 20 Genesis Mamea, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Ambrose Curtis

Manawatu: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Craig Clare, 13 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12 Frankie Bryant, 11 Junior Tomasi Cama, 10 Nathan George, 9 Karl Bryson, 8 Hamish Gosling, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Nick Crosswell (c), 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Fraser Stone, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Eric Fry.
Replacements: 16 Bryn Templeman, 17 David Te Moana, 18 Reece Robinson, 19 James Oliver, three backs reserves TBC

Referee: Bryce Lawrence


Tasman v Crusaders

Canterbury kick-off their ITM Cup title defence against Championship division neighbours Tasman on Friday.

New coach Tabai Matson has named a strong starting 15 that includes a mix of youth and experience.

Willi Heinz captain's the side and will start at halfback meaning former All Black Andy Ellis will come off the bench for what would be his 50th cap for the franchise

The past three meetings between Canterbury and Tasman have been close affairs with only three points on average separating the two sides.

The teams:

Tasman: 15 Robbie Malneek,14 Peter Betham, 13 Bryce Heem,12 Andrew Goodman (c), 11 James Lowe, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Jeremy Su'a, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Shane Christie,6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Tevita Cavubati,4 Filipo Levi,3 Campbell Johnstone, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Sam Prattley,
Replacements: 16 Francis Smith, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Vernon Fredricks, 19 Tevita Kolomatangi, 20 Steve Alfeld, 21 Kieron Fonotia, 22 George Millar.

Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz (c), 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Dom Bird, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Paea Fa'anunu, 18 Joel Everson, 19 George Whitelock, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Ryan Crotty, 22 Telusa Veainu.

Referee: Richard Kelly

  • ITM Cup Fixtures
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FixtureDetails
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ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
Saturday , October 18
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
Friday , October 17
Hawkes Bay 26 - 21 Northland
Sunday , October 12
Taranaki 23 - 26 CanterburyTaranaki vs Canterbury Report
Tasman 16 - 21 Counties ManukauTasman vs Counties Manukau Report
Saturday , October 11
Wellington 58 - 34 North HarbourWellington vs North Harbour Report
Hawkes Bay 20 - 20 Southland
Auckland 38 - 10 NorthlandAuckland vs Northland Report
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PosTeamPPts
1Taranaki1038
2Tasman1038
3Canterbury1034
4Auckland1030
5Counties Manukau1028