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CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW: Otago v Northland

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Friday, September 7, 2018    allblacks.com    Getty Images


Match details:
Otago v Northland, 5.45pm Friday 7 September, Forsyth-Barr Stadium.

Referee: Nick Webster
Played: 47 (1936-2017)
Wins: Otago 34, Northland 11, Drawn 2
Last match: Northland 32 Otago 30 (September 27, 2017)

FORM
Both Otago and Northland have picked up one win each from three matches, although it could be argued that Northland has played the tougher opposition with all three of their matches against Premiership teams. The Taniwha started with losses to North Harbour and Auckland before taking out Taranaki in a one-point thriller last week. Otago suffered losses to Wellington and Hawke’s Bay in the opening two rounds before thumping Manawatu 50-17 in round three.

LAST TIME
Northland have only beaten Otago 11 times since their rivalry began in 1936. Last year they added a famous win to their rich history by overcoming Otago 32-30 at Toll Stadium.



BENCH STRENGTH
With game-breakers Matt Faddes and Vilimoni Koroi starting from the bench for Otago, there is the potential for the home-side to do some real damage in the final quarter. Northland are yet to concede a try in the final 20 minutes of the match this season but will face a huge challenge against Otago. Both Faddes and Koroi are great sevens exponents and are at their best from open play and when the opposition defence tires. Expect plenty of impact from this double Otago threat from the bench.

FAST FACT (Opta):
Northland have lost 18 of their last 19 games when playing away, including the last five on the bounce. 

THE SCOOP
Otago will be out to avoid losing consecutive home games for the first time since losing four on the bounce from 2014 to 2015 after going down 31-25 to Hawke’s Bay in Round 2 this year. With a stong bench at their disposal and Northland having had to take the long journey from the far north, Otago should have the slight edge in what shapes to be a cracking game.

TEAMS
Otago

1: Aki Seiuli 2: Sekonaia Pole 3: Donald Brighouse 4: Tom Rowe 5: Josh Dickson 6: Sione Misiloi 7: Naulia Dawai 8: Dylan Nel 9: Kurt Hammer 10: Josh Ioane 11: Jona Nareki 12: Matt Whaanga 13: Sio Tomkinson 14: Mitchell Scott 15: Michael Collins
Reserves: Ricky Jackson, Tom Hill, Hisa Sasagi, Joketani Koroi, Slade McDowall, Melani Matavao, Matt Faddes, Vilimoni Koroi

Northland:

1: Ross Wright 2: Jordan Olsen 3: Ropate Rinakama 4: Temo Mayanavanu 5: Josh Goodhue 6: Tom Robinson 7: Kane Jacobsen 8: Matt Matich 9: Sam Nock 10: Jack Debreczeni 11: Tua Tamati 12: Blake Hohaia 13: Rene Ranger 14: Jordan Hyland 15: Matt Wright
Reserves: Cambell Matthews, Isi Tuungafasi, Jack Straker, Sam McNamara, Kara Pryor, Jono Kitto, Myles Thoroughgood, Scott Gregory