Planet Rugby

Preview: Counties Manukau v Waikato

05th October 2012 21:07

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Bundee Aki

Steelers: Aiming to cement top spot in Championship standings

Counties Manukau will look to take advantage of a hungover Waikato team in Pukekohe and cement their place at the Championship summit.

The Steelers take on the newest Ranfurly Shield holders on Saturday, knowing a win will confirm them as top placed finishers in their group.

Despite having been written off by most rugby experts, Waikato beat Taranaki 46-10 to take home the famous Log o'Wood for the first time since 2007.

Lucky for them, this match is not a Shield challenge, and it's questionable how switched on they'll be for this game. Though Counties Manukau coach Tana Umaga isn't buying it.

"Waikato will be emotionally charged after their Shield win so we need to be ready for a big game against our franchise neighbours," he said.

The teams:

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

Waikato: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Declan O'Donnell, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Joe Perawiti, 11 Joe Webber, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Alex Bradley (capt), 7 Jono Armstrong, 6 Rory Grice, 5 Sam Kilgour, 4 Anthony Wise, 3 Ted Tauroa, 2 Vance Elliott, 1 Latu Talakai.
Replacements: 16 Kalem Chan Boon, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Johan Bardoul, 19 Adam Burn, 20 Ruaan Du Plooy, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Navi Sikivou.

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