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FPC final preview: Counties Manukau v Auckland

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allblacks.com     30 Sep 2016     Getty Images

Match details: Sunday 2 October, 2.30pm at ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe

Played: 6, 1999-2016 | Auckland wins: 5 | Counties Manukau wins: 1
Last match: Counties Manukau 7 Auckland 3, 17.09.16 in Auckland (FPC)
Biggest differential: Auckland by 51 (51-0), 1999

FORM
Not a lot separated these teams in the regular season with Counties Manukau prevailing 7-3 in a tense encounter in round seven. In the semi-finals last week, the Heat flexed their attacking muscle by running in 10 tries to beat Wellington 60-7. Auckland were equally dominant when overcoming a very strong Canterbury side 33-3 at Colin Maiden Park

PLAYERS TO WATCH
The return of wing Portia Woodman to the Counties Manukau Heat following the 2016 Olympic Games has boosted their attacking potency. She was a standout in the semifinal against Wellington with four tries and will be a major weapon for the Heat in the final. Auckland has class across the park and in fullback Tyla Nathan-Wong boast a dangerous counter attack runner and deft tactician.

DEFENCE
While the Heat have no shortage of game breakers, it is their defence that has been most impressive in 2016. From seven games the Heat have only conceded 40 points. Auckland have also been impressive on defence with just 87 points conceded. In their round seven encounter, Auckland failed to cross the Counties Manukau line and will need to conjure a way to break through the well organised Counties Manukau defence if they are to secure a ninth straight title.

WATCH
Entry to ECOlight Stadium is free for the match or you can watch LIVE on Sky Sport channel 3 from 2.30pm.

TEAMS
Auckland: 1. Karina Stowers 2. Fiao’o Fa’amausili 3. Aleisha Nelson 4. Eloise Blackwell 5. Charlene Gubb 6. Charlotte Scanlan 7. Lydia Crossman 8. Charmaine McMenamin 9. Emma Jensen 10. Kiritapu Demant 11. Mele Hufanga 12. Onjeurlina Leiataua 13. Naite Faitala-Mariner 14. Teuila Fotu-Moala 15. Tyla Nathan-Wong
Reserves:16. Aldora Itunu 17. Doris Taufateau 18. Malia Tova 19. Shannon Willoughby 20. Nora Baltruweit 21. Aeron Warbrooke 22. Lose Mafi

Counties Manukau: 1. Leilani Perese 2. Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate 3. Aotearoa Matau 4. Hanna Brough 5. Rawinia Everitt 6. Aroha Savage 7. Sharnita Woodman 8. Krystal Murray 9. Arihiana Marino © 10. Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali 11. Portia Woodman 12. Shontelle Woodman 13. Badinlee Munro-Smith 14. Renee Wickliffe 15. Hazel Tubic
Reserves: 16. Victoria Meki 17. Hinewai Pomare 18. Stacey Brown 19. Justine Lavea 20. Timara Leaf 21. Arzania Watene 22. Cynthia Ta’ala