Southland named to face Otago

Getty Images     17 Aug 2012     Getty Images

Captain Jamie Mackintish makes his first appearance for the season, Jimmy Cowan should get a run off the bench behind new Stags and Hihghlanders wider training squad member Nemia Kentale and move one game closer to joining the centurion club for the Maroons.

Hoani MacDonald gets a second start at number 8 while Elliot Dixon continues his rehabilitation from injury.

Kade Poki is making a graduated return to full duties from the bench while in the midfield new comer Nathan Hohia will start if he overcomes a back strain otherwise veteran Matt Saunders will get his second run of the season at centre.

With another wet track on offering the Stags should be well prepared after their first hit out on a sodden Centennial Park in Oamaru, while Otago have enjoyed the comforts of an indoor venue during their
preseason campaign to date.

As always it promises to be a though physical encounter between neighbours befitting of New Zealand’s oldest rugby rivalry.

SOUTHLAND: Mark Wells, Junior Ngaluafe, Nathan Hohaia/Matt Saunders, Cardiff Vaega, Tim Conforth, Marty McKenzie, Nemia Kenatale, Hoani Macdonald, John Hardie, Tim Boys, Josh Bekhuis, Alex Ryan, Jamie Mackintosh (captain), Brayden Mitchell, Micheal Peterson. Reserves; Jason Rutledge, Nic Barrett, Ben Nally, Campbell Smith, Jimmy Cowan, Saunders/Matt Gandy, Kade Poki.

OTAGO: Tony Ensor, Matt Faddes, Jayden Spence, Michael Collins, Buxton Popoali'i, Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka, Paul Grant (captain), Gareth Evans, T J Ioane, Rob Verbakel, Justin Ives, Tama Tuirirangi, Shota Horie, Scott Manson. Reserves; Liam Coltman, Aki Seiuli, Tom Franklin, Lee Allan, Brad Weber, Peter Breen, Glenn Dickson.