Planet Rugby

Preview: Auckland v Waikato

06th September 2012 08:04

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Charles Piutau

Unchanged backs: Charles Piutau

Auckland head coach Wayne Pivac has made just two changes to his side for Saturday's ITM Cup clash with Waikato at Eden Park.

Lock Liaki Moli returns from injury to replace Andrew Van der Heijden who is nursing a sore shoulder, while Sean Polwart has overcome an ankle sprain to resume duties at openside flanker in place of Nepia Fox-Matamua.

For the fourth consecutive match, Auckland's young and exciting backline remains unchanged.

In the only change to the reserves bench, outside back Dave Thomas comes in for Lolagi Visinia.

Pivac said he was expecting a "huge turnaround in performance" from Waikato following their loss to Northland last week.

"I didn't think they played badly against Northland but certainly they'll be looking to improve in a number of areas," Pivac said.

"I think you'll find their forwards will be very hungry, aggressive and very challenging for us.

"Certainly we learnt from Canterbury that top teams coming off a loss respond and we'd like to think we're in that category, that we lifted our performance against Manawatu so we expect a big performance from Waikato."

The teams:

Auckland: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (c), 11 George Moala, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Sean Brookman, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Pauliasi Manu. Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18 Nathan Hughes, 19 Joe Edwards, 20 Auvasa Faleali'i, 21 Simon Hickey, 22 Dave Thomas.

Waikato: tbc

Referee: Richard Kelly

  • ITM Cup Fixtures
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FixtureDetails
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ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland vs TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Preview
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North Harbour17:35
Manawatu vs Southland19:35
Sunday , September 21
Otago vs Waikato14:35
Wellington vs Tasman14:35
Wellington vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
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Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
Sunday , September 14
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
Saturday , September 13
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
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Friday , September 12
North Harbour 24 - 13 Manawatu
Canterbury 46 - 12 WellingtonCanterbury vs Wellington Report
Thursday , September 11
Tasman 30 - 31 TaranakiTasman vs Taranaki Report
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Otago 23 - 40 Northland
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Manawatu 26 - 10 Counties ManukauManawatu vs Counties Manukau Report
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PosTeamPPts
1Canterbury524
2Taranaki622
3Tasman622
4Auckland515
5Waikato615