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PREVIEW: North Harbour v Tasman

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Friday, August 31, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match details: North Harbour v Tasman, QBE Stadium, Albany, 7.35pm, September 1, 2018

Played: 9
Won: North Harbour 5, Tasman 3, Draws 1
Last time: Tasman 21, North Harbour 14, Blenheim, October 4, 2017
Referee: Glen Jackson

FORM
North Harbour have been treading the tightrope in their first two games, getting home courtesy of a late Bryn Gatland penalty goal to beat Northland 21-20 in the first round and then having to withstand a finishing flurry from Waikato before winning 29-28 in their second game. Tasman made a great start to the competition when beating Canterbury 25-17 and then came home strong against a Southland team that tackled well for much of the game but which ran out of steam before going down 24-45 in Blenheim last weekend.



ANOTHER HEADING
North Harbour have made three changes to their starting XV. Chris Eves will start at loosehead prop for Nick Mayhew, while on the blindside flank Glenn Preston is in for Murphy Taramai and Loketi Manu will start at centre for James Dargaville. With only one loss at home in their last 12 games North Harbour have every reason to build on their record but they are going to need to improve their goal kicking statistics as they have been below 70 percent in their last two home games.

TASMAN RECORD IN SIGHT
Tasman go into the game chasing some history. If they win it will be the second time in 13 seasons of Mitre 10 Cup play they have managed three consecutive wins. The first was in 2015 when they had six wins. Having Shannon Frizell back in the mix will be a boost for the side. Apart from anything else it will be interesting to watch how much his play has been advanced as a result of exposure to the All Blacks' methods. His combination with Ethan Blackadder and Jed Brown should ensure a great battle in the loose. The front rows should also be an area of interest with Tim Perry and Tyrel Lomax on either side of Andrew Makalio it is a formidable looking combination and one that should test most packs in the Premiership this season.

THE SCOOP
Tasman haven't lost in three games against North Harbour in recent years while North Harbour have not lost at home to Tasman since 2009.

TEAMS:

North Harbour: 1.Chris Eves, 2.James Parsons, 3.Sione Mafileo, 4.Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5.Ben Nee-Nee, 6.Glenn Preston, 7.Dillon Hunt, 8.Hapakuki Moala-Liavaa, 9.Bryn Hall, 10.Bryn Gatland, 11.Tevita Li, 12.Harrison Groundwater, 13.Loketi Manu, 14.Matt Duffie, 15.Shaun Stevenson.

Substitutes: 16.Luteru Tolai, 17.Mike Tamoaieta, 18.Luatangi Li, 19.Jacob Pierce, 20.Sione Teu, 21.Lewis Gjaltema, 22.Daniel Hilton Jones, 23.Mark Telea.

Tasman: 1.Tim Perry, 2.Andrew Makalio, 3.Tyrel Lomax, 4.Pari Pari Parkinson, 5.Quinten Strange, 6.Ethan Blackadder, 7.Jed Brown, 8.Shannon Frizell, 9.Finlay Christie, 10.Mitchell Hunt, 11.Solomon Alaimalo, 12.David Havili (captain), 13.Levi Aumua, 14.Tima Faingaanuku, 15.Will Jordan.

Substitutes: 16.Ray Niuia, 17.Wyatt Crockett, 18.Isaac Salmon, 19.Mike Curry, 20.Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 21.Jack Grooby, 22.Tim O'Malley, 23.Alex Nanikivell.