PREVIEW: Hawke’s Bay v Taranaki
Friday, September 22, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
Match details: Hawke’s Bay v Taranaki, Saturday 23 September, 7.35pm, McLean Park, Napier. TICKETS.
Played: 52 (1890-2016)
Wins: Hawke's Bay 19, Taranaki 27, Draws 6
Last match: Taranaki 55 Hawke's Bay 28 (2016)
Taranaki has been one of the form teams of the Premiership while Hawke’s Bay has struggled in the Championship. Last week was a perfect illustration of their differing fortunes with Taranaki picking up a 29-7 win over Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay being outclassed 33-14 to Counties Manukau.
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Taranaki skipper Charlie Ngatai has been rested for this game after suffering a head knock against Bay of Plenty last week. Hard-running Johnny Fa’auli comes in at second five-eighth to partner Sean Wainui in a powerful midfield for Taranaki. Veteran prop Angus Ta’avao takes over the captaincy reigns. Seta Tamanivalu is being rested in the other notable omission for Taranaki.
Hawke’s Bay will have even more motivation on Saturday with the fixture marking the 100th Mitre 10 Cup (NPC) game for captain Ash Dixon. The Magpies and Maori All Blacks captain has played 22 games for Auckland and will bring up 78 for Hawke’s Bay on the weekend. "It's great that it is a home game. If anyone had told me back in the day when I first started I would play 100 I would have said I would have been happy to just play as well as I can," Dixon said.
We are sure that Hawke’s Bay have a couple of wins left in them this season but don’t think it will come against a classy Taranaki side. Even with the resting of key players, Taranaki should have enough firepower to overcome the Magpies on their home deck.
Hawke’s Bay: Jason Long, Ash Dixon, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Michael Allardice, Geoff Cridge, Tony Lamborn, Hugh Renton, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Brad Weber, Dan Snee, Mason Emerson, Richard Buckman, Jonah Lowe, Cardiff Vaega, Ihaia West
Reserves: Jacob Devery, Tim Farrell, Jarvy Aoake, Joshua Eden-Whatiri, Fa’alemiga Selesele, Ellery Wilson, Psaqualle Dunn, To’o Vaega
Taranaki: Mitchell Graham, Ricky Riccitelli, Angus Ta’avao, Kane Thompson, Leon Power, Pita Sowakula, Adrian Wyrill, Toa Halafihi, Kylem O’Donnell, Marty McKenzie, Manasa Mataele, Johnny Fa’auli, Sean Wainui, Declan O’Donnell, Steven Perofeta
Reserves: Sione Lea, Jared Proffit, Reuben O’Neill, Fin Hoeta, Lachlan Boshier, Te Toiroa Tahuorangi, Ciarahn Matoe, Tom Florence
Win the ultimate fan experience! Upload & tag your photo #mitre10cupcolours at McLean Park this Saturday when the Magpies take on Taranaki! pic.twitter.com/HuWYK44reD— Hawke's Bay Magpies (@hbmagpies) September 17, 2017