Planet Rugby

Preview: Auckland v Bay of Plenty

30th August 2013 09:14


Keven Mealamu Auckland 2008

Blast from the past: Keven Mealamu in ITM Cup action

Auckland coach Wayne Pivac has made seven changes to the team that will face Bay of Plenty on Saturday.

The men in blue and white are in the middle of a run which sees them play three matches in the space of 12 days and as a result Pivac has shuffled his starting XV to keep his players fresh.

All Black hooker Keven Mealamu comes into the front-row to make his first appearance for Auckland in five years. It's all change up front, with props Sam Prattley and Angus Ta'avao also brought into the side.

Among the loose forwards, Sean Polwart moves to the blindside to replace the injured Joe Edwards with Luke Braid turning out on the openside.

There is only one change in the back-line where Charles Piutau, who like Mealamu was released from the All Blacks squad, comes in at full-back.

Auckland have started the season with wins over North Harbour and Manawatu, but have yet to fully hit their straps.

Like their opponents, Bay of Plenty have been patchy first up with a narrow 29-32 defeat to Otago before managing a come-from-behind 24-20 victory over Hawke's Bay.

The Steamers welcome back All Black Sam Cane to form a potent back-row combination with Reds flanker Beau Robinson and number eight Carl Axtens.

Bay of Plenty will have to do without Culum Retallick though, with the lock suspended for two weeks for foul play.

Auckland: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 George Moala, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (c), 11 Lolagi Visinia, 10 Simon Hickey, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Sean Polwart, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Jack Whetton, 19 Sean Brookman, 20 Junior Poluleiligaga, 21 Vince Aso, 22 Tenina Sauileoge.

Bay of Plenty: 15 Dave Thomas, 14 Tino Nemani, 13 Brett Mather, 12 Sam Beard, 11 Kimami Sitauti, 10 Willie Ripia, 9 Samisoni Fisilau, 8 Carl Axtens, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Sam Cane, 5 Keepa Mewett, 4 Yohan Bardoul, 3 Pingi Talaapitaga, 2 Joe Royal, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Albert Anae, 18 Beau Williams, 19 Joe Tupe, 20 Josh Hall, 21 Nick Evemy, 22, Junior Tofa-Va'a.

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Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
Friday , September 5
Tasman vs Waikato18:05
Northland vs Hawkes Bay20:05
Saturday , September 6
Auckland vs Wellington14:35
Taranaki vs Southland06:35
Sunday , September 7
Manawatu vs Counties Manukau14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs North Harbour16:35
Wednesday, September 10
Otago vs Northland09:35
Thursday , September 11
Tasman vs Taranaki19:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
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Recent Results
All times are local
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki 41 - 3 Bay Of PlentyTaranaki vs Bay Of Plenty Report
Auckland 16 - 16 TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Report
Saturday , August 30
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
Friday , August 29
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
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