Planet Rugby

Preview: Tasman v Bay Of Plenty

03rd October 2012 12:05

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Bay of Plenty in a huddle

Bay of Plenty: All to play for

Only a win will do for Bay of Plenty when they visit Nelson's Trafalgar Park to take on Tasman in Thursday's ITM Cup crossover clash.

Despite their recent win over Northland, the sixth-placed Steamers (16 points) are still fighting for survival in the Premiership after Waikato leapfrogged them into fifth spot following their Ranfurly Shield victory on Wednesday.

Bay of Plenty now trail Waikato by three points and are two points ahead of last-placed Hawke's Bay in the scrap to avoid relegation.

A win against the Makos will see Kevin Schuler's men reclaim fifth position and put the pressure back on Waikato, who face Counties and then the Magpies in their last two games of the regular season.

Because the Steamers have played an extra game than Waikato and Hawke's Bay, Thursday's must-win clash with Tasman is their penultimate match in the competition before they face high-flying Canterbury on October 14.

And Schuler knows just how crucial victory is for his team.

"This is sort of our grand final and we have to nail this one to keep us where we want to be, don't we?" he said.

"We just have to play good rugby and we have gone down there and won before. We know they love to play a lot of rugby and will attack us for 80 minutes and sometimes that can work for them and sometimes it can be to their detriment.

"But it is more about us. We are at the end of our short three games turnaround so we have to make sure physically the boys are ready to go again.

The teams:

Tasman: tbc

Bay of Plenty: 15 Nick McCashin, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Kenny Lynn , 12 Mafi Kefu, 11 Lance Macdonald, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Lewis Hancock, 8 Carl Axtens, 7 Tanerau Latimer (c), 6 Jesse Acton, 5 Leon Power, 4 Dan Goodwin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 John Pareanga, 1 Greg Pleasants-Tate.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Mike Kainga, 18 Keepa Mewett, 19 Matt Clutterbuck, 20 Jamie Nutbrown, 21 Simon Rolleston, 22 Jack Wilson.

Referee: Richard Kelly

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