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PREVIEW: Bay of Plenty v Hawkes Bay

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Friday, August 25, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Bay of Plenty v Hawkes Bay, Friday 25 August, 5.45pm, Rotorua International Stadium. TICKETS.

Played: 49 (1922-2016) | Bay of Plenty wins: 26 | Hawke's Bay wins: 22 | Draws: 1

FORM
After a sluggish start against Southland last week, Hawkes Bay scored two late tries to secure a 24-16 win at McLean Park. It was the exact opposite for Bay of Plenty who let a handy lead over Northland slip to lose 28-23. For Bay of Plenty, former All Blacks first five-eighth Mike Delany was in impressive form on his return to the side while youngster Tiaan Falcon was one of the standouts for Hawkes Bay out-wide.

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LAST TIME
It was a crossover clash the last time these teams played in 2016 with Hawkes Bay in the Premiership and Bay of Plenty in the Championship. The Steamers managed to get the better of their Premiership counterparts on that day.



McNICOL’S LONG AWAITED DEBUT
After signing for Hawkes Bay in 2015, Chiefs wing Sam McNicol will finally make his debut for the Magpies against Bay of Plenty. McNicol says it has been a frustrating wait after being injured out of the 2016 season but is excited for his chance to pull on the black and white hoops: “I've had a couple of injury-riddled years. Hopefully I can string a few games together and do the jersey a bit of justice."

THE SCOOP

Both teams will be out with a point to prove after mixed performances last week and a passionate encounter last season. There will be a feeling out period at the start of the match between the opposing packs before both sets of backs spread the ball wide. We think Hawkes Bay have a little more strike power out wide and will have the edge as the game wears on.

TEAMS
Bay of Plenty: 1: Aidan Ross 2: James O’Reilly 3: Siegfried Fisi’ihoi 4: Tom Franklin 5: Keepa Mewett 6: Hugh Blake 7: Mitchell Karpik 8: Tyler Ardon 9: Richard Judd 10: Mike Delany 11: Joe Webber 12: Terrence Hepetema 13: Lalakai Foketi 14: Monty Ioane 15: Chase Tiatia
Reserves: Seb Siataga, Solomona Sakalia, James Lay, Culum Retallick, Jesse Paraete, Luke Campbell, Liam Steel, Elijah Nicholas

Hawkes Bay: 1: Jason Long 2: Ash Dixon 3: Pouri Rakete-Stones 4: Michael Allardice 5: Nicholas Palmer 6: Geoff Cridge 7: Fa'alemiga Selesele 8: Marino Mikaele Tu'u 9: Chris Eaton 10: Ihaia West 11: Sam McNicol 12: Richard Buckman 13: Cardiff Vaega 14: Hayden Hann 15: Tiaan Falcon
Reserves: Jacob Devery, Mark Braidwood, Mason Kean, Joshua Eden-Whaitiri, Ben Hamelink, Zavh Donaldson, Pasqualle Dunn, To’o Vaega