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Preview: Hawke's Bay v Counties

06th September 2013 11:03

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Hawkes Bay Ranfurly Shield 2013

Holders: Hawke's Bay

The Ranfurly Shield will be on the line when holders Hawke's Bay look to defend the trophy against Counties Manukau at McLean Park on Saturday.

The Magpies, who edged out Otago 20-19 to claim the Log o' Wood last weekend, are minus only All Blacks squad member Ben Franks.

Included in their side is the dangerous Gillies Kaka at 15 while Zac Guildford wears 11. Alby Mathewson and Ihaia West are half-backs.

Meanwhile, Steelers coaches Tana Umaga and Steve Jackson have made two changes to their front-row with prop Simon Lemalu and hooker Hika Elliot getting the nod for the away match.

Captain and number eight Fritz Lee has been cleared to play after he was cited for a dangerous tackle and issued an off-field yellow card following a judicial hearing on Friday.

Influential fly-half Baden Kerr comes back into the side and is joined by Toni Pulu who has recovered from his infection. Hooker Suliasi Taufalele, prop Sam Aiono and Ahsee Tuala all moved onto the replacements bench and Sam Vaka has been bracketed with Ki Anufe.

"The Ranfurly Shield is something that Counties Manukau has not been able to win so this is an exciting opportunity for our region. The Ranfurly Shield is a special piece of New Zealand rugby history so it is great that these men get a chance to play for it," said Umaga.

The teams:

Hawke's Bay: 15 Gillies Kaka, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Richard Buckman, 12 Adam Bradey, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Mark Atkins, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Mike Coman, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Max Lahiff, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Adrian Barone, 18 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 19 Karl Lowe, 20 Chris Eaton, 21 Régis Lespinas, 22 Trinity Spooner-Neera.

Counties Manukau: 15 Sherwin Stowers, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Reynold Lee-Lo, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Maama Vaipulu, 6 Adam Cathcart, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Ronald Raaymakers, 3 Jarrod Firth, 2 Hikawera Elliot, 1 Simon Lemalu.
Replacements: 16 Suli Taufalele, 17 Sam Aiono, 18 Sikeli Nabou, 19 Sean Reidy, 20 Kane Hancy, 21 Ahsee Tuala, 22 Sam Vaka.

Date: Saturday, September 7
Kick-off: 16:35 local (04:35 BST, 03:35 GMT)
Venue: McLean Park, Napier
Referee: Jonathon White

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PosTeamPPts
1Canterbury315
2Taranaki413
3Tasman312
4Waikato49
5Counties Manukau38