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PREVIEW: Tasman v Southland

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Friday, August 24, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match details: Tasman v Southland, Lansdowne Park, Blenheim, Sunday, August 26, 2.05pm

Played: 10
Won: Tasman 6, Southland 4
Last time: Tasman 50-17 Southland, Nelson, September 24, 2017

FORM

After getting the Mitre 10 Cup season off to a bang with their 25-17 win over Canterbury, Tasman had made good use of what they had learned. "We have been able to add polish and get some clarity to a lot of areas that weren't that flash on Friday…so it's been a good learning week for us," coach Leon MacDonald said. Southland did not get the start they wanted when going down 10-31 to Hawke's Bay in their opening game. They showed plenty of spirit but lacked the penetration to impact the visiting Bay defence while the Hawke's Bay's lineout drive was responsible for all of Hawke's Bay's tries.

MAINTAINING FOCUS

From a top of the table clash to the competition minnows. That's what Tasman are now up against when meeting the lowest-placed side from last year Southland. With that in mind MacDonald has taken the chance to have some of his key players starting off the bench but that hadn't lessened the attitude they would take into the game. MacDonald said, "We will treat them with the same respect as we do Canterbury, or anyone in fact, because this competition has shown that if you take anybody lightly you will get tripped up. We expect a really spirited Southland team." He also reminded his players that Tasman used to be where Southland was now, and they had always enjoyed the chance to take on the likes of Canterbury and get excited about it and Southland would be viewing Tasman in the same way. Ryan Coxon will start at loosehead prop while the only other change to the pack sees Isaiah Miller replace the injured Vernon Fredericks. In the backline Mitch Hunt steps aside for Blenheim-based first five-eighths Tim O'Malley.

ACCEPTING THE CHALLENGE

Coach Dave Hewett has taken the only stance really open to him when describing the game as an opportunity for the Southland side to test themselves against one of the benchmark teams in the competition. He has made changes to the side which met Hawke's Bay with Shaun Stodard starting at loosehead prop while Lewis Ormond will start on the left wing. Outside back Rory van Vugt is set to make his debut off the bench while loose forward Jack Capil should make his first appearance, off the bench, while replacing Bill Fukofuka. "We all know Tasman are a great side, but we also know what we are capable of doing we need to make sure we execute our plays and if we do so, it will be a good game," Hewett said.

THE SCOOP

Tasman have had nine days since their win over Canterbury while Southland played last Sunday for a seven-day turnaround.

TEAMS:

Tasman: 1.Ryan Coxon, 2.Andrew Makalio, 3.Tyrel Lomax, 4.Quinten Strange, 5.Pari Pari Parkinson, 6.Ethan Blackadder, 7.Jed Brown, 8.Isaiah Miller, 9.Jack Grooby, 10.Tim O'Malley, 11.Solomon Alaimalo, 12.David Havili (captain), 13.Levi Aumua, 14.Jamie Spowart, 15.Will Jordan.

Substitutes: 16.Ray Niuia, 17.Wyatt Crockett, 18.Blair Prinsep, 19.Michael Curry, 20.Sione Havili, 21.Ben Finau, 22.Mitch Hunt, 23.Alex Nankiville.

Southland: 1.Shaun Stodard, 2.Flynn Thomas, 3.Morgan Mitchell, 4.Ben Fotheringham, 5.Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 6.Wade McRae, 7.Phil Halder, 8.Tony Lamborn, 9.Jay Renton, 10.James Wilson, 11.Lewis Ormond, 12.Matthew Johnson, 13.Aleki Morris-Lome, 14.Isaac Te Tamaki, 15.Tauasosi Tuimavave.

Substitutes: 16.Andrew Ready, 17.Joseph Walsh, 18.Christopher Apoua, 19.Raymond Tatafu, 20.Jack Capil, 21.Nicolas Costa, 22.Broc Hooper, 23.Rory van Vugt.