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PREVIEW: Tasman v Southland

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Friday, October 14, 2016    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Form: The form book couldn't be much more different. Tasman go into the game without defeat in their last five games and only a 27-27 draw in their last outing to cast any shadows on their performances. Impressively they have beaten Counties Manukau (15-10) and Auckland (49-31) in their previous two outings. After a horror start to the season Southland have managed two wins in their last five games, both of them at home, over Bay of Plenty (20-16) and Northland (39-31).

Played: 8

Wins: Tasman 4, Southland 4

Last match: Tasman 38 Southland 14, Invercargill 2014

Teams:

Tasman: 1.Tim Perry, 2.Andrew Makalio, 3.Ross Geldenhuys, 4.Alex Ainley, 5.Pari Pari Parkinson, 6.Shannon Frizell, 7.Shane Christie, 8.Pete Samu, 9.Billy Guyton, 10.Marty Banks, 11.James Lowe, 12.David Havili, 13.Kieron Fonotia, 14.Viliami Lolohea, 15.Mitchell Hunt.

Substitutes: 16.Jesse Macdonald, 17.Kane Hames, 18.Siua Halanukonuka, 19.Quinten Strange, 20.Ethan Blackadder, 21.Finlay Christie, 22.Alex Nankivell, 23.Caleb Makene.

Southland: 1.Joseph Walsh, 2.Brayden Mitchell, 3.Morgan Mitchell, 4.Joshua Clark, 5.Matthew Phillip, 6.Bill Fukofuka, 7.Tim Boys, 8.Mika Mafi, 9.Jimmy Cowan, 10.Wharenui Hawera, 11.Mike Molloy, 12.James Schrader, 13.Dylan Collier, 14.Tauasosi Tuimavave, 15.Junior Ngaluafe.

Substitutes: 16.Jason Rutledge, 17.Shaun Stodart, 18.Guy Millar, 19.Mike Stewart, 20.Phil Halder, 21.Michael Dowsett, 22.Greg Dyer, 23.Wade McRae.

Squad Update: Tasman have named a strong team for the game and have the luxury of being able to leave Kane Hames on the bench. Southland have suffered the loss of Jaye Thompson-Te Muunu and Mike McKee due to illness allowing Dylan Collier to play at centre and Josh Clark at lock. Halfback Jahvis Wallace was also forced out after suffering an ankle injury which has seen Australian recruit Michael Dowsett to move onto the bench.

Key Players: Lineout forwards Alex Ainley and Pari Pari Parkinson will be looking to dominate the Southland line in the absence of Mike McKee who has been such a strong performer for the Maroons. Add to that the experience and class of Shane Christie and Pete Samu and the Southland defence is in for a real workout. They have their own craftsman in Tim Boys but that is unlikely to be enough to halt the tide. The contest between halfbacks Billy Guyton for Tasman and the old campaigner Jimmy Cowan should be an intriguing aside to the overall battle. Marty Banks is certain to continue the impact he has made again in the competition and with David Havili and Kieron Fonotia outside him the inexperienced Southland backs are going to be well tested.