Planet Rugby

Preview: Canterbury v Auckland

27th August 2012 06:19

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Nasi Manu

Ruled out: Nasi Manu

Canterbury will be without Nasi Manu for Wednesday's big ITM Cup showdown against Auckland at AMI Stadium.

The powerhouse number eight has been ruled out of the clash in Addington after suffering an ankle strain during Canterbury's 25-22 loss to Tasman last week.

Luke Whitelock will take Manu's place at the back of the scrum with his older brother, George, wearing the number six jersey.

Joining Manu on the injured list for this round is Luke Katene, who is being rested after leaving the field with concussion last week, and Sean Maitland, who is out for the season with a ruptured tendon in his finger.

That has meant head coach Tabai Matson has had to ring the changes.

With Maitland out, Tom Taylor will shift to full-back and Ryan Crotty will join Robbie Fruean in the midfield, while up front Joel Everson will pack down with Dominic Bird at lock. Andy Ellis has been given the nod ahead of Willi Heinz at halfback and Paea Fa'anunu replaces Joe Moody.

Meanwhile, All Blacks scrum-half Piri Weepu has been named on Auckland's bench.

Weepu will act as back-up to starting number nine Alby Mathewson and is poised to join the squad late on Monday due to a booking signing function.

"Piri's got a book launch on today which was pre-planned, he probably didn't expect to be made available but he is available and he'll get some game time off the bench but he won't start as he's not at training today," said coach Wayne Pivac.

"He'll be in for a meeting this afternoon as soon as he's freed up so we'll go through everything he needs to go through and we're confident he'll be able to do a good job for us off the bench."

In the only change to Pivac's starting XV, Sean Polwart starts ahead of Daniel Braid on the flank, with 19-year-old flanker Sean Brookman coming onto the bench for the first time.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Canterbury: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Adam Whitelock, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock, 5 Joel Everson, 4 Dom Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Michael Allardice, 19 Jed Brown, 20 Willi Heinz, 21 Telusa Veainu, 22 Sam Monaghan/Rhys Llewelyn.

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 Sean Polwart, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Andrew Van der Heijden, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Nathan Hughes, 19 Sean Brookman, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Tony Fenner, 22 Dave Thomas.

Date: Wednesday, August 29
Kick-off: 19:35 local
Venue: AMI Stadium

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1Canterbury628
2Taranaki727
3Tasman622
4Auckland515
5Waikato615