Counties Manukau v Auckland



  • Auckland match-day 23 for Counties Manukau, 7.35pm, Saturday August 19:

    .

    15 Jordan Trainor (Ponsonby, 0 Auckland caps) *

    14 Vince Aso (Ponsonby, 28)

    13 Malakai Fekitoa (Pakuranga, 23)

    12 George Moala (Grammar TEC, 45)

    11 Caleb Clarke (Suburbs, 0) *

    10 Daniel Bowden (Ponsonby, 7)

    9 Jono Hickey (Grammar TEC, 22)

    8 Akira Ioane (Ponsonby, 21)

    7 Blake Gibson (Ponsonby, 12)

    6 Samuel Slade (Ponsonby, 0) *

    5 Scott Scrafton (Grammar TEC, 22)

    4 Patrick Tuipulotu (Ponsonby, 14, c)

    3 Marcel Renata (University, 11)

    2 Greg Pleasants-Tate (Ponsonby, 16)

    1 Sam Prattley (Pakuranga, 34)

    Reserves:

    16 Kurt Eklund (University, 22)

    17 Isi Tu’ungafasi (Suburbs, 12)

    18 Dexter Fa’amoana (College Rifles, 0) +

    19 Ben Nee-nee (Pakuranga, 5)

    20 Jamason Fa’anana-Shultz (Suburbs, 0) +

    21 Lisati Milo-Harris (Grammar TEC, 0) +

    22 Otumaka Mausia (College Rifles, 0) +

    23 TJ Faiane (Pakuranga, 7)

    *Debut
    +Potential debut

    Injured/unavailable: Tom McHugh (season), Dalton Papali’i, Taleni Seu, Michael Fatialofa, Sam Ulufonua, Tumua Manu, Leon Fukofuka, Melani Nanai



  • Interesting:

    Both No 8 Akira Ioane and Tuipulotu return to the ground where they saw minutes for the All Blacks in last Friday’s ‘Game of Three Halves.’



  • @Tim The only reason Akira and PT were in the AB squad for the game of three halves was because the Crusaders in the ABs were being rested, weren't they?

    Strong looking squad!





  • @Tim Not a strong looking squad?



  • @Stargazer Akira Ioane has been injury cover for the ABs this season, and there were no Crusaders players missing that he was covering for.



  • @Stargazer Prop is a worry.



  • @Tim They didn't name an injury cover list for the RC; that was only for the B&I Lions Series. Akira & PT were also among several players invited to the wider training camp.

    For the RC, they've called up individual players when an injury occurred, rather than using an injury cover list (e.g., Havili and Riccitelli), which enables all other players to train with and play for their provincial team. From the injury cover list for the B&I Lions Series, they've only retained Fifita by naming him in the squad. Todd and Goodhue have also returned to their respective NPC teams.



  • Excited to see how Clarke goes on the wing and the new faces on the bench.

    A bit of pressure on Trainor to deliver at this level I think - he's had a year in the Super environment so will be interested to see what he offers.



  • @KiwiMurph I see another NZ U20s player, Sam Slade, is also in the starting line-up. Always interesting to see how these young lads adjust to playing at this level. 11-14, looks awesome on paper. Can't wait to see them on the field.



  • @KiwiMurph Trainor was really good against the Reds. Hope he continues that counter attacking form.



  • @KiwiMurph said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    Excited to see how Clarke goes on the wing and the new faces on the bench.

    A bit of pressure on Trainor to deliver at this level I think - he's had a year in the Super environment so will be interested to see what he offers.

    It's a pity though, given the midfield, they might never get the ball unless they're kick returning.



  • @mimic said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    @KiwiMurph said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    Excited to see how Clarke goes on the wing and the new faces on the bench.

    A bit of pressure on Trainor to deliver at this level I think - he's had a year in the Super environment so will be interested to see what he offers.

    It's a pity though, given the midfield, they might never get the ball unless they're kick returning.

    Hopefully they won't use Fekitoa that much and sub him for Faiane. Much better midfield with him in there at 12.

    Strong looking team.



  • @Kirwan Faiane is returning from injury.

    TJ Faiane is making his way back from a niggle, so will wear the No 23 jersey in what could be his first Auckland appearance since 2014 after two injury-plagued years.



  • @Tim said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    @Kirwan Faiane is returning from injury.

    TJ Faiane is making his way back from a niggle, so will wear the No 23 jersey in what could be his first Auckland appearance since 2014 after two injury-plagued years.

    Ahh, good. So Fekitoa is likely temporary cover then. I don't want to select someone leaving unless we have to.



  • @Stargazer Yeah from the little i've seen of Slade he's a lock/6 so fascinating to see how he goes. I also just read that Tuipulotu is captain - hopefully it fires him up - he certainly has a lot to prove.

    Very true points being made about the midfield - doesnt seem the right balance.

    @Tim yeah i'm hopeful Trainor will at least be better than Elkington-MacDonald from last year - a reasonable hope!



  • Interesting to see that Josh Kaifa is now listed on the squad page. I wonder if he is injury cover for Seu?

    http://www.aucklandrugby.co.nz/mitre-10-cup/player-profiles

    Salesi Rayasi is a big boy for a wing:

    Height: 1.97m
    Weight: 115kg



  • @KiwiMurph At only 1.94m, Slade had better be a good loose forward.



  • Counties Manukau: Luteru Laulala, NIgel Ah Wong, Sam Furniss, Stephen Donald, Tim Nanai-Williams, Baden Kerr, Augustine Pulu (c), Sam Henwood, Fotu Lokotui, Ronald Raamakers, Matiaha Martin, Viliame Rarasea, Kalolo Tuiloma, Gafatasi Su'a, Pauliasi Manu.
    Reserves: Joe Royal, Sean Bagshaw, Coree Te Whata-Colley, Daymon Leasuasu,, Viliami Taulani, Jonathan Taumateine, Orbyn Leger, Kalione Hala.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/provincial/95883899/stephen-donald-to-start-at-secondfive-for-counties-manukau



  • The NZ TAB has Counties as favourites:

    1 Counties 1.60
    2 Auckland 2.35
    3 Draw 21.00



  • @Tim Otu Mausia also listed as pretty darn big for a 10/15.

    I see Pryor Collier is also on that site but I don't think he was in the extended squad list Auckland announced the other day?



  • @KiwiMurph Injury cover for Nanai?



  • @Tim Good point. Hopefully only that.

    That's a good Counties backline.



  • @Tim Renata and Prattley aren't too bad at this level. Anything below that and we're in massive shit there.



  • This Auckland squad is made of very young players. Is it the youngest squad of the competition ?



  • @Tim said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    The NZ TAB has Counties as favourites:

    1 Counties 1.60
    2 Auckland 2.35
    3 Draw 21.00

    Wow. When I saw that AK team I thought 'way too many professionals and Super players in there for us'

    Very surprised CM ranked favourite



  • @KiwiMurph said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    @Tim Good point. Hopefully only that.

    That's a good Counties backline.

    A very untried one though. Will need to gel on defence against that AK midfield.



  • @Crucial Did you see Auckland last year? They were garbage.



  • @cgrant said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    This Auckland squad is made of very young players. Is it the youngest squad of the competition ?

    The majority of the squads are very young. I was reading this morning that the average age of the Waikato squad is 23, and that is with Sweeney, Christie and Guildford.



  • That's a better line-up than any we threw up last year. Hopefully no more criminally slow starts like we had right through last season. I also hope we get more bench production this year.

    Be interesting to see how we manage the midfielders this year.



  • @Tim said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    @KiwiMurph Trainor was really good against the Reds. Hope he continues that counter attacking form.

    For the most part, he was good for Waikato last year too. I'm a bit worried his great line running won't get rewarded with this midfield combo though. Last year he would often run some really good lines, but would often never get the pass - if he got those passes, he was either gone or would've made a long break.

    He makes a number of features on this video.



  • @Dice said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    Be interesting to see how we manage the midfielders this year.

    What would you go for?

    Personally I would leave Aso on the wing. Of all the Auckland midfielders he is the one who makes more errors in defence.

    TJ should start. He will be the long term Auckland and Blues 12, the sooner he is up to speed the better

    Moala, yes he's a ball hog on attack but I would start him at 13. Nonu showed its possible to develop a passing game/decision making mid career.

    Fekitoa - he's leaving so no point trying to fix his weaknesses. He makes a very useful impact sub/injury cover though



  • Where's harry Plummer?

    Did he make the squad?



  • @SammyC said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    Where's harry Plummer?

    Did he make the squad?

    No, he'll be in the under 19s this year.

    The conversation about him in the other thread was actually about whether or not he should be selected this season or next.



  • @Duluth said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    @SammyC said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    Where's harry Plummer?

    Did he make the squad?

    No, he'll be in the under 19s this year.

    The conversation about him in the other thread was actually about whether or not he should be selected this season or next.

    Didn't realise he was that young, probably a good thing to let him develop in the u19s



  • @SammyC Think he could do with putting on some weight too.

    Like it or not I would expect Fekitoa will be seeing a lot of minutes this season - I think they view him as a senior guy in that backline.



  • If George and Fekitoa could get their passing going they could be a pretty devastating combo. Big if I know.



  • @pakman said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    If George and Fekitoa could get their passing going they could be a pretty devastating combo. Big if I know.

    My concern is them simply running straight. If I was the AK coach that would be my first instruction. One of them to straighten and the other to run a line for a pop.



  • @Duluth said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    @Dice said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    Be interesting to see how we manage the midfielders this year.

    What would you go for?

    Personally I would leave Aso on the wing. Of all the Auckland midfielders he is the one who makes more errors in defence.

    TJ should start. He will be the long term Auckland and Blues 12, the sooner he is up to speed the better

    Moala, yes he's a ball hog on attack but I would start him at 13. Nonu showed its possible to develop a passing game/decision making mid career.

    Fekitoa - he's leaving so no point trying to fix his weaknesses. He makes a very useful impact sub/injury cover though

    I'd leave Aso on the wing too. He's actually played some of his best rugby for us when he's been on the wing.

    I've definitely got Faiane at 12, but at 13, I'm a bit on the fence between Moala and Fekitoa, mostly because Fekitoa is off.

    If we're simply going with who matches up better with Faiane, I think Fekitoa might be the better choice. I think his style of play and play speed goes better with Faiane's style of play, whereas Moala plays a bit slower and doesn't really run any lines, which doesn't really take advantage of Faiane's distribution skills.

    Both have their warts, but both should be better than most centres they come up against at this level, so I'm fine with either.



  • @Dice said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    @Duluth said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    @Dice said in Counties Manukau v Auckland:

    Be interesting to see how we manage the midfielders this year.

    What would you go for?

    Personally I would leave Aso on the wing. Of all the Auckland midfielders he is the one who makes more errors in defence.

    TJ should start. He will be the long term Auckland and Blues 12, the sooner he is up to speed the better

    Moala, yes he's a ball hog on attack but I would start him at 13. Nonu showed its possible to develop a passing game/decision making mid career.

    Fekitoa - he's leaving so no point trying to fix his weaknesses. He makes a very useful impact sub/injury cover though

    I'd leave Aso on the wing too. He's actually played some of his best rugby for us when he's been on the wing.

    I've definitely got Faiane at 12, but at 13, I'm a bit on the fence between Moala and Fekitoa, mostly because Fekitoa is off.

    If we're simply going with who matches up better with Faiane, I think Fekitoa might be the better choice. I think his style of play and play speed goes better with Faiane's style of play, whereas Moala plays a bit slower and doesn't really run any lines, which doesn't really take advantage of Faiane's distribution skills.

    Both have their warts, but both should be better than most centres they come up against at this level, so I'm fine with either.

    Personally I'd have a TJ/Fekitoa midfield. Don't really care that Fekitoa is off, we are in win now mode. I could be swayed if we put in another talented centre and give him a go, but I wouldn't put Moala there.
    I'd have Moala on the wing tbh. But, I'd like to see Clarke given a go, so Moala can come off the bench for impact with an added bonus that he can cover the midfield in case TJ breaks down again.

    I know people refer to Nonu when talking about Moala, but people forget that Nonu worked with Umaga and Smith. I'm sure working with them helped him develop his game.


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