Ranfurly Shield: Waikato named for Otago

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    24 Aug 2013     Getty Images

Vant Leven is back after his break following the Chiefs' Super Rugby season to take his place at Number 8, as is Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna who will make his Waikato debut from the bench. Adam Burn and Latu Talakai are the two players to make way.

There is one more change among the reserves with first five Wharenui Hawera replacing midfield back Joe Perawiti.

The match is also a milestone for Waikato centre Save Tokula who will be making his 50th appearance for the province.

Waikato head coach Johnny Walters said “we were happy to start with a win but it is important that we now continue to grow and improve each week.”

“Our focus has quickly shifted to going out and winning the shield again because we know that every home game the opposition is going to throw everything at us. But it is a challenge we are enjoying and both the players and coaches learn a lot from the intensity of these shield matches.”

Gates open at 5.35pm on Friday with a curtain-raiser (New Zealand Harlequins Under 17s versus New Zealand Area Schools) kicking off at 5.45pm. The main game kicks off at 8.05pm.

Tickets for Friday’s game can be purchased from

The Waikato team to play Otago at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton this Friday (kick off 8.05pm) is:

1. Toby Smith (41)
2. Brayden Mitchell (2)
3. Paul Alo-Emile (2)
4. Brian Alainu'uese (3)
5. Sam Kilgour (11)
6. Rory Grice (13)
7. Jack Lam (33)
8. Matt Vant Leven [c] (29)
9. Kylem O’Donnell (2)
10. Sam Christie (34)
11. Joe Webber (9)
12. Jackson Willison (53)
13. Save Tokula (49)
14. Tim Mikkelson (55)
15. Trent Renata (57)

16. Vance Elliott (13)
17. Ben Tameifuna (0)
18. Chris Middleton (20)
19. Jono Armstrong (10)
20. Mick Snowden (2)
21. Wharenui Hawera (1)
22. Semisi Masirewa (2)

() = Waikato caps in brackets