Preview: Canterbury v Tasman

Date published: October 3 2014

Canterbury coach Scott Robertson has made seven changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s clash with Tasman in Christchurch.

Canterbury coach Scott Robertson has made seven changes to his starting XV for Saturday’s clash with Tasman in Christchurch.

Daniel Lienert-Brown and Codie Taylor will make up the front-row with Nepo Laulala this week. The other change in the forwards is Matt Symons joining Dominic Bird at lock.

With Willi Heinz out with a knee injury, Nasi Manu will captain the side and Mitchell Drummond will play at scrum-half. Former Canterbury and Tasman scrum-half Steve Alfeld may face his former team if he comes off the bench.

Dan Carter will also miss this week’s game due to injury. The All Blacks pivot bruised his calf in last Sunday’s match against Southland and although he has been recovering well, was ruled out of contention at today’s Captain’s run.

Richie Mo’unga will take the fly-half spot and Luteru Laulala will play at full-back. Michael Green comes into the starting line-up on the wing.

Former Fiji international and Canterbury Sevens captain William Saukuru may get the opportunity to make his Canterbury ITM Cup debut if he comes off the bench.

Robertson said the team had been particularly hard hit by injuries in the backs, but that he was looking forward to seeing some exciting young talent make their mark on Saturday night.

“With the likes of Willi Heinz, Johnny McNicholl, Partick Osborne, Milford Keresoma, Dan Carter, Tyler Bleyendaal and Jack Goodhue all out with injuries, not to mention the players we’re missing with the All Blacks, our backline stocks are very stretched at the moment,” he explained.

“But I’ve got full confidence in the players that will take the field and I know that there is some exciting young talent in there who will be determined to show what they’ve got.”

Meanwhile, flanker Shane Christie will make his 50th appearance for the Makos on Saturday.

Christie will have the support of a near full-strength line-up which is without both loosehead prop Tim Perry (calf) and blindside flanker Pete Samu (knee) through injury. Centre Tom Marshall (shoulder) and number eight Liam Squire (back) also remain on the injured list.

Siua Halanukonuka will take over Perry’s number one jersey and Tevita Koloamatangi will this week step back into the loose forward role that he filled so admirably last season.

The teams:

Canterbury: 15 Luteru Laulala, 14 Nathaniel Apa, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Michael Green, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 JJ Manning, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Steve Alfeld, 21 Brett Mather, 22 William Saukuru.

Tasman: 15 Robbie Malneek, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 David Havili, 11 James Lowe, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Vernon Fredricks, 7 Shane Christie (c), 6 Tevita Koloamatangi, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Siua Halanukonuka.
Replacements: 16 Jesse MacDonald, 17 Reuben Northover, 18 Tevita Cavubati, 19 Nemani Nagusa, 20 Billy Guyton, 21 Rohan Saifoloi, 22 Mitchell Scott.

Date: Saturday, October 4
Kick-off: 19:35 local (08:35 BST, 07:35 GMT)
Venue: AMI Stadium (Addington), Christchurch
Referee: Garratt Williamson