Planet Rugby

Preview: Bay of Plenty v Otago

29th August 2012 08:22

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Ben Smith in Otago colours

At full-back: Ben Smith

All Blacks duo Ben Smith and Tamati Ellison will line up at full-back and centre respectively for Otago in their clash with Bay of Plenty on Thursday.

Smith, who was impressive off the bench for New Zealand against Australia last weekend, features in a starting team that includes Adam Thomson.

There is one injury concern following the win over Northland, since prop Tama Tuirirangi picked up a minor calf strain. He was later cleared to start in the XV that, not surprisingly, contains their three All Blacks who were made available. Teenager Hugh Blake is set to make his Otago debut.

Meanwhile, Chris Noakes has been bracketed in the Bay of Plenty starting line-up. Super Rugby-winning flanker Tanerau Latimer takes over at six, while Sam Cane, released by the All Blacks, completes a formidable loose trio.

If Noakes cannot play, Nick McCashin will start and Simon Rolleston will go onto the bench.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Bay of Plenty: 15 Kendrick Lynn, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Mafi Kefu, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Lance MacDonald, 10 Chris Noakes/Nick McCashin, 9 Jamie Nutbrown (captain), 8 Luke Braid, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Leon Power, 3 Mike Kainga, 2 Dan Perrin, 1 Tristan Moran.
Replacements: 16 John Pareanga, 17 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 18 Keepa Mewett, 19 Carl Axtens, 20 Lewis Hancock, 21 Nick McCashin/Simon Rolleston, 22 Jack Wilson.

Otago: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Jayden Spence, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Glenn Dickson, 11 Buxton Popoali'i, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Hugh Blake, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Rob Verbakel, 4 Paul Grant (captain), 3 Aki Seiuli, 2 Sam Anderson-Heather, 1 Tama Tuirirangi.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Shota Horie, 18 Tom Franklin, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Brad Weber, 21 Peter Breen, 22 Tony Ensor.

Date: Thursday, August 30
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Rotorua International Stadium
Referee: Shaun Elliott
Television match official: Phil Barnett
Assessor: Bryce Lawrence

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PosTeamPPts
1Taranaki832
2Tasman832
3Canterbury830
4Auckland720
5Waikato816