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PREVIEW: Canterbury v Counties Manukau (Ranfurly Shield)

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Canterbury v Counties Manukau, Wednesday 13 September, 7.35pm, AMI Stadium, Christchurch. TICKETS.

Played: 38 (1960-2016)
Wins: Canterbury 26, Counties Manukau 11
Draws: 1
Last match: Canterbury 22, Counties Manukau 7 (2016)

FORM
Canterbury have been unstoppable so far in 2017. They have clocked up four bonus point wins from four matches with an average of 50 points in each match. Last week against Southland, they poured on 61 second half points to defend the Ranfurly Shield in a crushing 78-20 victory. After defeating Auckland in round one, Counties have struggled with losses to North Harbour, Taranaki and Waikato.

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YOUNG GUNS
With most of their All Blacks on duty with the national team during the opening rounds of the Mitre 10 Cup, Canterbury’s young stars have led the way. Out wide, New Zealand Under 20s speedster Braydon Ennor has lit up the competition with six tries – including four in one match against Southland. In the engine room, dynamic lock Mitchell Dunshea has increased Canterbury’s incredible locking depth by being one of the form second-rowers in the competition.
THE SCOOP
It is going to take a mammoth effort for any team to lift the ‘log o’ wood” from Canterbury this year. Counties Manukau will need a complete form turnaround to challenge Canterbury. Last weekend Southland took the game to Canterbury for 40 minutes until the home-side piled on the points in the second half. The challenge for the Steelers will be staying in the game until the final quarter to realy push Canterbury.

TEAMS
Canterbury: Alex Hodgman, Nathan Vella, Oliver Jager, Mitchell Dunshea, Dominic Bird, Tom Sanders, Billy Harmon, Luke Whitelock, Mitchell Drummond, Richie Mo’unga, Brayden Ennor, Rob Thompson, Tim Bateman, Poasa Waqanibau, George Bridge
Reserves: Nick Werahiko, Chris Gawler, Siate Tokolahi, Hamish Dalzell, Reed Prinsep, Ere Enari, Brett Cameron, Josh McKay

Counties Manukau: Pauliasi Manu, Gafatasi Su’a, Kalolo Tuiloma, Viliame Rarasea, Jimmy Tupou, Ronald Raaymakers, Johnathan Kawau, Sam Henwood, Augustine Pulu, Baden Kerr, Albert Nikoro, Stephen Donald, Tim Nanai-Williams, Nigel Ah Wong, Luteru Laulala
Reserves: Joe Royal, Sean Bagshaw, Coree Te Whata-Colley, Leroy Jack, Foto Lokotui, Jonathan Taumateine, Orbyn Leger, Sam Furniss