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PREVIEW: Manawatu v Tasman

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Friday, August 25, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Manawatu v Tasman, Sunday 27 August, 2.35pm, Palmerston North

Played: 9 (2006-2015) | Manawatu wins: 2 | Tasman wins: 7

FORM
Both teams had tough starts to the season last week. Tasman went scoreless against reigning champions Canterbury in a 39-0 loss. Manawatu were blown away by Wellington 41-29 but showed some promising signs with a second half comeback.

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BAKER’S BACK
Flying fullback Kurt Baker will make his first appearance in Turbos colours since 2009. After first making his name for Manawatu, Baker went onto play more than 50 games for Taranaki and enjoyed a successful stint with the All Blacks Sevens team. Baker’s lively running game will help to balance out the loss of fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder who has been called into the All Blacks squad as injury cover.

LETHAL LOOSE FORWARDS
Expect a big battle at ruck time with two of the most accomplished and hard-working loose forward trios in the competition going head-to-head. Tasman’s powerful trio of Jordan Taufua, Pete Samu and Shannon Frizell will be hurting from the big loss to Canterbury last week and eager to lead from the front. Manawatu’s combo of Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Antonio Kiri Kiri and Nick Croswell is the perfect combination of power, flair and graft. If there was one area to decide the game, it could be which ever loose forward trio manages to impose themselves on the game first

THE SCOOP
Expect to see a backlash from the Tasman Makos for their big loss to Canterbury last week. Tasman were Premiership finalists last year and will want to be ruthless against a team from the Championship. The Turbos will not roll over though and be inspired by their legion of passionate ‘buckethead’ fans. We are picking a comfortable victory to the Makos but Manawatu do have the ability to surprise.

TEAMS

Tasman Makos (probable): 15 Will Jordan, 14 James Lowe/Viliami Lolohea, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Trael Joass, 11 Tima Faingaanuku, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Finlay Christie; 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Pete Samu, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Alex Ainley (captain); 3 Isaac Salmon, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Tim Perry. Bench: Brendan Asomua-Goodman, Tom Hill, Jack Straker, Pari Pari Parkinson, Vernon Fredericks, Billy Guyton, Tim O'Malley, Levi Aumua.

Manawatu Turbos: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Ambrose Curtis, 13 Lewis Marshall, 12 Curtis Reid/Hamish Northcott, 11 Willy Ambaka, 10 Otere Black, 9 Kayne Hammington; 8 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (c), 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Jackson Hemopo, 4 Tom Parsons, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Hunter Prescott, 1 Fraser Armstrong. Reserves: 16 Tim Cadwallader, 17 Tuki Raimona, 18 Sean Paranihi, 19 Liam Hallam-Eames, 20 Brice Henderson, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jade Te Rure, 23 Newton Tudreu.