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PREVIEW: Taranaki v Wellington

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Thursday, October 11, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match details: Taranaki v Wellington, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth, 7.35pm Friday, October 12

Played: 172
Won: Taranaki 46, Wellington 120, Draws 5 (one game abandoned)
Last time: Taranaki 26-42 Wellington, August 26, 2017
Referee: Ben O'Keefe

FORM

Taranaki lost their opening game of the season to Bay of Plenty (10-30) but then beat Manawatu (41-21). They also beat Counties Manukau (26-19) but since then they have been on the negative side of the ledger to Northland (17-18), Waikato (19-33), Tasman (17-53), Auckland (30-31), North Harbour (26-55) and Canterbury (7-41). Wellington have had a mixed season. Starting with a 34-16 win over Otago, they lost 20-27 to Canterbury. They beat Southland 52-7 but lost to Waikato 31-43. They put together three consecutive wins over North Harbour (35-23), Counties Manukau (53-12) and Manawatu (49-7) before losing their last two games to Tasman (22-28) and Auckland (24-29).

TAMANIVALU'S LAST GAME

All Blacks threequarter Seta Tamanivalu will make his final appearance for Taranaki on Friday. It will be his 62nd game for the side before he takes up a contract with Bordeaux in French rugby later in the month. Three changes have been made to Taranaki's side. Prop Jared Proffit will start with Chris Gawler dropping to the bench. Jarrad Hoeata's suspension has created a start for Kane Thompson at lock after his recovery from a hamstring injury. Wing Manasa Mataele is also over an ankle injury and will start on the left wing allowing Beaudein Waaka to return to fullback. Adrian Wyrill is back from loan to Manawatu while Logan Crowley is over his concussion and both are on the bench.

BIG GUNS BACK

Flanker Vaea Fifita is one of three changes to Wellington's starting XV for the game. Taken with the All Blacks to Argentina and South Africa, Fifita did not get playing time while fellow All Black hooker Dane Coles is on the bench for his first game time since suffering a calf injury, as back-up to Asafo Aumua. Tolu Fahamokioa will start on the loosehead prop after Xavier Numia suffered an injury. Bill Proctor gets a start at second five-eighths with Thomas Umaga-Jensen back on the bench. Coach Chris Gibbes said Wellington were well aware of how desperate Taranaki would be in their bid to avoid relegation but Wellington were also keen to show they had learned from mistakes in their loss to Auckland last week.



THE SCOOP

Away teams have had all the recent success in games between these two old rivals and 2009 was the last time Taranaki won at home. They will be out to avoid their fourth consecutive loss, never having lost more three home games in succession in the modern competition.

TEAMS:

Taranaki: 1.Jared Proffit, 2.Ricky Riccitelli, 3.Reuben O'Neill, 4.Kane Thompson, 5.Leighton Price, 6.Mitchell Crosswell, 7.Tom Florence, 8.Jesse Parete, 9.Warwick Lahmert, 10.Ciarhan Matoe, 11.Manasa Mataele, 12.Teihorangi Walden, 13.Seta Tamanivalu, 14.Regan Ware, 15.Beaudein Waaka.

Substitutes: 16.Scott Mellow, 17.Chris Gawler, 18.Kyle Stewart, 19.Donald Maka, 20.Adrian Wyrill, 21.Logan Crowley, 22.Brayton Northcott-Hill, 23.Latu Vaeno.

Wellington: 1.Tolu Fahamokoia, 2.Asafo Aumua, 3.Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 4.James Blackwell, 5.Isaia Walker –Leawere, 6.Vaea Fifita, 7.Mateaki Kafatolu, 8.Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 9.Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 10.Jackson Garden-Bachop, 11.Malo Tuitama, 12.Billy Proctor, 13.Matt Proctor, 14.Ben Lam, 15.Wes Goosen.

Substitutes: 16.Dane Coles, 17.Sitiveni Paongo, 18.Joel Hintz, 19.Sam Lousi, 20.Galu Taufale, 21.Carlos Price, 22.Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 23.Trent Renata.