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PREVIEW: Bay of Plenty v Taranaki

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Friday, August 19, 2016    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Bay of Plenty v Taranaki, Saturday 20 August, 2.35pm, Tauranga

Games played: 42
Wins: Bay of Plenty 16, Taranaki 26
Last match: Taranaki 32, Bay of Plenty 9 (2015)

DASHING DEBUTANTS
One of the features of this game is the number of debutants on either side. Bay of Plenty have eight debutants in their match day 23 including impressive former Wellington hooker James O’Reilly, Scotland international Hugh Blake and All Blacks Sevens flyer Isaac Te Aute. Taranaki will be hoping Queensland Reds lock Ben Matijow can add some go-forward to their pack while promising first five-eighth Steven Perofeta will be one to watch on debut.

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CAPTAIN CULUM
Steamers captain Culum Retallick is sitting on 92 caps for Bay of Plenty and is hoping to become a centurion by the end of the season. "It is one of the reasons why I came back and I would be rapt to hopefully get it. Touch wood I don't get any injuries and I keep getting selected," Retallick said. The 32-year-old is an inspirational figure for the Steamers and will need to play a vital role if the Steamers are to overcome Taranaki.

NAKI FIREPOWER
Traditionally known for their hard working forward pack, Taranaki now boast one of the most exciting backlines in the Mitre 10 Cup. With blockbusting centre Seta Tamanivalu providing the attacking thrust up the middle, the classy back three of Jackson Ormond and Crusaders pair Marty McKenzie and Sean Wainui offer the finishing ability.

THE VERDICT
Crossover matches are always tough for the Championship side and there’s no doubt that Bay of Plenty are the underdogs in this contest. The Steamers haven’t beaten Taranaki since 2006 and will be wary of the 2015 Premiership semi-finalists. Bay of Plenty will take inspiration from North Harbour’s win over Counties Manukau and look to attack Taranaki head on at Tauranga Domain.

BE THERE
Nothing beats being there, so get tickets HERE and experience the action live!

TEAMS
Bay of Plenty: 1. Solomona Sakalia 2. James O'Reilly* 3. Siegfried Fisi'ihoi 4. Shahn Eru 5. Culum Retallick © 6. Henry Stowers* 7. Hugh Blake* 8. Joe Tupe 9. Te Aihe Toma 10. Dan Hollinshead 11. Isaac Te Aute* 12. Terrence Hepetema 13. Lalakai Foketi 14. Monty Ioane* 15. Chase Tiatia
Reserves: 16. Liam Polwart* 17. Aidan Ross 18. Pingi Tala'apitaga 19. Keepa Mewett 20. Jesse Parete* 21. Luke Campbell* 22. Kelly Haimona 23. Te Rangi Fraser

Taranaki:
15: Marty McKenzie 14: Jackson Ormond 13: Seta Tamanivalu 12: Johnny Fa'auli 11: Sean Wainui 10: Stephen Perofeta 9: Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi 8: Mitchell Brown 7: Berny Hall 6: Mitchell Crosswell (c) 5: Leon Power 4: Ben Matwijow 3: Mike Kainga 2: Rhys Marshall 1: Mitchell Graham
Reserves, Sione Lea, Jared Proffit, Ryan Cocker, Iopu Iopu-Aso, Toa Halafihi, Kylem O'Donnell, Beaudein Waaka, Manasa Mataele.