Preview: Auckland v Northland

Date published: October 10 2014

All Blacks Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua and Charles Piutau will start for Auckland in Saturday’s clash with Northland at Eden Park.

All Blacks Charlie Faumuina, Steven Luatua and Charles Piutau will start for Auckland in Saturday’s clash with Northland at Eden Park.

It is Auckland’s third match in ten days and their last of the regular season, a bonus-point victory would secure their position in the premiership semi-finals.

The team suffered a 41-18 loss to Counties-Manukau on Wednesday, with George Moala, Peter Saili and Joe Edwards all sustaining injuries that will seem them miss the Northland match.

“With those injuries they are forced changes to the team. Charlie (Faumuina) is back in the fold in the front row while Patrick was not made available for this game,” said Auckland coach Paul Feeney.

Jack Whetton take’s Tuipulotu’s place in the second row while other changes see TJ Faiane and Leon Fukofuka both return to the starting line-up.

“The boys love playing at home and we have absolutely everything to play for, we don’t want our season to end now,” added Feeney.

“It will also be Tom McCartney and Gareth Anscombe’s last game on Eden Park for a long while, so we’ve got lots of reasons to perform tomorrow.”

“Northland v Auckland encounters doesn’t need any motivation though, they love driving down here to try knock us over so we know what they will bring,” said Feeney.

McCartney and Anscombe will play their last matches at Eden Park for Auckland before heading offshore to play in Ireland and Wales respectively.

Meanwhile, Northland have made just one change to their team after last weekend’s 58-27 thrashing of North Harbour. Brook Gilmore comes in to the starting line-up at outside centre for Warren Dunn.

Amongst the replacements, there are two changes with Matthew Moulds replacing Jordan Olsen as the back-up hooker and Winston Stanley comes in for Viliami Tahitu’a as one of the back-line reserves.

The teams:

Auckland: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Leon Fukofuka, 8 Blake Gibson, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Jack Whetton, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Gafatasi Su’a, 17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 18 William Lloyd, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Francis Saili, 22 Simon Hickey.

Northland: 15 Mathew Wright, 14 Latiume Fosita, 13 Brook Gilmore, 12 Troy Gilbert, 11 Jone Macilai, 10 Daniel Hawkins, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 8 Dan Pryor (c), 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jack Ram, 5 Tom Murday, 4 Shane Neville, 3 Will John, 2 Ross Wright, 1 Namatahi Waa.Replacements: 16 Matthew Moulds, 17 Howard Sililoto, 18 Michael Stolberg, 19 Jaycob Matiu, 20 Kurt Davies, 21 Winston Stanley, 22 Whiria Meltzer.

Date: Saturday, October 11
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Referee: Brendon Pickerill