Planet Rugby

Preview: Wellington v Canterbury

20th September 2013 07:49

Share:

Johnny McNicholl in action for Canterbury

Starts: Johnny McNicholl

Canterbury coach Scott Robertson has made five changes to his XV that will face Wellington in their ITM Cup clash at Westpac Stadium on Saturday.

Two players who returned from injury last week to start off the bench have this week made the XV - Corey Flynn at hooker and Johnny McNicholl on the left wing. That sees Ben Funnell and Milford Keresoma providing handy cover from the bench.

Two players have also been released from the All Blacks camp this week to rejoin the team. Matt Todd returns to openside flanker, and Colin Slade replaces Tom Taylor at full-back (with Taylor now having been called up to the All Black squad).

The final change is in the number eight jersey, with Luke Whitelock pulling it on this week and Jordan Taufua ready to make an impact off the bench if required, with coach Robertson saying the game promises to be their biggest challenge of the ITM Cup season yet.

"Like us, Wellington haven't dropped a game yet this season. Both teams will obviously be determined not to break their unbeaten run," he said.

"We are expecting this game to be at a level of intensity you'd normally get in a final and we're approaching it as such. It is also the beginning of our 'storm' week though, with matches to follow on Wednesday night and the following Saturday, so our focus and energy have to be absolutely primed."

Wellington meanwhile, who have only missed out on maximum points once in six matches to date, will be without scrum-half Frae Wilson for the home game. Tomasi Palu is their number nine, linking up with Lima Sopoaga behind arguably the strongest back-row in the competition of number eight Victor Vito and flanks Ardie Savea and Brad Shields.

The Lions are six points ahead of Canterbury ahead of what should be an epic clash.

The teams:

Wellington: 15 Charlie Ngatai, 14 Ambrose Curtis, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Joe Hill, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Tomasi Palu, 8 Victor Vito (capt), 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Kaipati Gaualofa, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Reg Goodes, 17 Eric Sione, 18 Genesis Mamea, 19 Adam Hill, 20 Kayne Hammington, 21 Tau Mamea, 22 Afa Fa'atau.

Canterbury: 15 Colin Slade, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (capt), 5 Matt Symons, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Paea Faanunu, 18 Joel Everson, 19 Jordan Taufua, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Rob Thompson, 22 Milford Keresoma.

Date: Saturday, September 21
Kick-off: 17:35 local (06:35 BST, 05:35 GMT)
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Referee: Nick Briant

  • ITM Cup Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Preview
Manawatu vs Southland19:35
Sunday , September 21
Otago vs Waikato14:35
Wellington vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
Friday , September 26
Taranaki vs Auckland19:35
Saturday , September 27
Waikato vs Manawatu14:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
  • ITM Cup Results
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
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
Saturday , September 13
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
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
Wednesday, September 10
Otago 23 - 40 Northland
More ITM Cup results
  • ITM Cup Table
Premiership 2014
ITM Cup Table
PosTeamPPts
1Taranaki727
2Canterbury524
3Tasman622
4Auckland515
5Waikato615