Planet Rugby

Preview: Magpies v Steelers

30th August 2012 14:07

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tana umaga Counties Manukau

Umaga: New Steelers coach looking to make it two wins in a row

After two rounds, Hawke's Bay remain winless this season and will be desperate to get off the mark when they host Counties Manukau in Friday's ITM Cup crossover clash in Napier.

A poor first half was to blame in the Magpies' opening round defeat to Auckland, and then a second-half collapse to Wellington in Round Two cost them dearly.

After being promoted from the Championship division last year, a third loss on the trot will leave Hawke's Bay rooted at the bottom the Premiership table and a mountain to climb to avoid relegation.

Counties Manukau, meanwhile, got their campaign off to a winning start thanks to a convincing 30-9 win over Southland. The Steelers led for most of the match, outscoring the southerners four tries to none, showing a willingness to run the ball from all areas of the field.

The result currently sees Tana Umaga's troops top of the Championship standings, which is exactly where they want to be as they aim for promotion to the Premiership.

So with the Magpies desperate to avoid the chop, and the Steelers knocking on the Premiership's door - the outcome of this clash could prove vital at the business end of the tournament.

In team news, Umaga has made three changes to his Steelers side.

Captain DJ Forbes returns from injury to start in the number seven jersey. International hooker Mahonri Schwalger and lock Jimmy Tupou will start, with Daniel Adongo, Suliasi Taufalele and Mark Selwyn moving to the bench.

"Earning respect is important for us this season and with three games in seven days, this will be a true gauge of where we are at," said Umaga.

The teams:

Hawke's Bay: 15 Nick McLennan, 14 Tino Nemani, 13 Tua Saseve, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Waenga, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Mike Coman (c), 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Adam Bradey, 5 Johan Schoonbee,4 Ross Kennedy,3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Adrian Barone.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Kieran Coll, 19 Tivaini Fomai, 20 Isaac Paewai, 21 Ihaia West, 22 Gillies Kaka.

Counties Manukau: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 August Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 DJ Forbes (c), 6 Adam Cathcart, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Ronald Raaymakers, 3 Matt Talaese, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Simon Lemalu.
Replacements: 16 Suliasi Taufalele, 17 Maka Tatafu, 18 Daniel Adongo, 19 Mark Selwyn, 20 David Bason, 21 Ray Laulala, 22 Tony Pulu.

Referee: Richard Kelly

  • ITM Cup Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , August 14
Taranaki vs Counties Manukau19:35
Friday , August 15
Southland vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Saturday , August 16
Otago vs North Harbour14:35
Canterbury vs Auckland16:35
Wellington vs Waikato18:35
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