Planet Rugby

Final Preview: Counties v Otago

25th October 2012 08:39

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Counties celebrating semi final win

Favourites: Counties-Manukau

Counties Manukau and Otago have named their strongest available line-ups for the ITM Cup Championship Final at ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe.

Otago are boosted by the inclusions of Ben Smith, Tamati Ellison and Adam Thomson as they look to topple the regular-season winners Counties.

"With Tamati and Ben back there I think it's going to help the team out a lot and hopefully in those crucial moments we'll make the right decisions," Otago head coach Tony Brown told ONE News.

"They've been a big part of our team this year even though they've only played two or three games and it's great to have them back and the boys enjoy training and playing with them."

The Steamers' line-up seems much the stronger with the likes of full-back Tim Nanai-Williams, hooker Mahonri Schwalger and wing Sherwin Stowers involved, but the visitors enter the finale confident following their 41-34 semi-final victory over the Tasman Makos.

Counties made their way to the final after beating Southland 48-23 in another entertaining clash where Stowers, Bundee Aki, Ray Lee-Lo (2), Tony Pulu and DJ Forbes all crossed.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

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

Otago: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Marshall Suckling, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Glenn Dickson, 11 Buxton Popoali'i, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Lee Allan, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Rob Verbakel, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tama Tuirirangi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Shota Horie, 17 Jacob Ellison, 18 Adam Hill, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Peter Breen, 21 Jayden Spence, 22 Tony Enso.

Date: Friday, October 26
Kick-off: 19:35 local
Venue: ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe
Referee: Keith Brown
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly, Ben Skeen
Television match official: Garratt Williamson

  • ITM Cup Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs CanterburyNorth Harbour vs Canterbury Preview
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
Friday , September 26
Taranaki vs Auckland19:35
Saturday , September 27
Waikato vs Manawatu14:35
Counties Manukau vs Wellington17:35
North Harbour vs Hawkes Bay19:35
Sunday , September 28
Tasman vs Otago14:35
Canterbury vs Southland16:35
Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay vs Wellington19:35
Thursday , October 2
Auckland vs Waikato19:35
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FixtureDetails
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ITM Cup
Sunday , September 21
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau 20 - 28 CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Report
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
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
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PosTeamPPts
1Canterbury628
2Tasman727
3Taranaki727
4Auckland620
5Waikato715