Waikato named for Ranfurly Shield challenge

Getty Images and James Mortimer     21 Sep 2013     Getty Images

There are three changes to the Waikato forward pack that beat Auckland last weekend and another two changes in the backline.

Prop Ben Tameifuna returns after missing the Auckland match through suspension, while lock Brian Alainu’uese (ankle) and flanker Jack Lam (hamstring) are out with injury. They are replaced in the starting line up by Nick Ross and Jono Armstrong.

In the backs Sam Christie and Dylan Collier come off the bench to start at first five and left wing, replacing Wharenui Hawera and Semisi Masirewa who drop to the bench.

Also named on the bench is veteran lock Sean Hohneck who is in line to make his first Waikato appearance since 2005.

Waikato head coach Johnny Walters said “we showed good character last weekend to get a breakthrough win over Auckland and our challenge now is to build on that and get some consistency, starting with Counties this Saturday.”

The way the draw has fallen means that Waikato has been given the chance to take back the Ranfurly Shield just one month after losing it to Otago.

“The players are motivated and excited to go up there and back up our performance from last week. We have put in a good week of work and prepared well, and now we are looking to transfer that into starting well on Saturday to give us an opportunity to win,” Walters said.

The Waikato versus Counties Manukau Ranfurly Shield match kicks off at 2.35pm this Saturday at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe.

The Waikato team to play Counties Manukau at ECOLight Stadium in Pukekohe this Saturday (kick off 2.35pm) is:

1. Toby Smith (45)
2. Brayden Mitchell (6)
3. Ben Tameifuna (3)
4. Nick Ross (2)
5. Sam Kilgour (15)
6. Rory Grice (17)
7. Jono Armstrong (14)
8. Adam Burn (6)
9. Brad Weber (2)
10. Sam Christie (37)
11. Dylan Collier (3)
12. Jackson Willison [c] (57)
13. Save Tokula (53)
14. Tim Mikkelson (59)
15. Trent Renata (61)

16. Vance Elliott (17)
17. Paul Alo-Emile (6)
18. Sean Hohneck (35)
19. Zak Hohneck (27)
20. Mick Snowden (4)
21. Wharenui Hawera (5)
22. Semisi Masirewa (6)