The Bay of Plenty Steamers will face their first defence of the Chiefs Country Cup on Thursday 23 August in Pukekohe when they run out against Counties Manukau.
Head Coach Clayton McMillan has named a virtually unchanged line up to face the Premiership side following their 30-10 win over Taranaki at Rotorua International Stadium last Saturday night.
Tyler Ardron will be the only change in the starting fifteen. The Canadian lock will be starting in the number six jersey as Hugh Blake’s replacement after he was ruled out with a shoulder injury.
Te Puna’s Angus MacDonald will return to the bench in the hope to run out for his second cap following his late call up last weekend for injured hooker Valentine Meachen. Baden Wardlaw returns from injury, but is bracketed with the experienced Tanerau Latimer. Latimer, if required will make his eightieth appearance for the Steamers. The final change on the bench will be the introduction of Te Puke Sports first five eight Jason Robertson, whom will be hoping to make his debut wearing the number twenty two jersey.
McMillan said his sides focus will remain unchanged in their approach for this Thursday’s match up.
"We're not going to stray too far from what worked for us last week. Our guys operate well when they're really clear as to what their roles are and what we want to achieve as a team.
"We've only had two trainings since the first match and if you try to throw too much in you can get yourself in a tangle, so we will try to avoid that,” finished McMillan.
Bay of Plenty Steamers v Counties Manukau:
- James Lay (11)
- Liam Polwart (15) (C)
- Jeff Thwaites (22)
- Kane Le’aupepe (1)
- Aaron Carroll (1)
- Tyler Ardron (7)
- Mitch Karpik (7)
- Hoani Matenga (1)
- Richard Judd (11)
- Mike Delany (73) (VC)
- Mathew Garland (4)
- Terrence Hepetema (20)
- Liam Steel (5)
- Fa’asiu Fuatai (1)
- Chase Tiatia (27)
16. Angus MacDonald (1)
17. Solomona Sakalia (34)
18. Ross Geldenhuys (1)
19. Baden Wardlaw (1)/Tanerau Latimer (79) (VC)
20. Zane Kapeli (1)
21. Luke Campbell (17)
22. Jason Robertson*
23. Trael Joass (1)
- Denotes debut
Denotes blazer game – 15 games
() Denotes number of games
Oddly the BOP times says that Polwart is out injured.
I went up to catch the game. Very similar style and flow to last week.
St mike Delaney didn't play to hos normal polished standard but his raking punts tore off huge tracts of territory.
Scrums still need work but over all they played really well.
Total determination to get the job done.
I was a little worried after spending so long camped in counties half we had so few points to show for the mahi the boys were giving.
Well done the steamers. Plenty of blue and gold sprinkled about and thank you for the lollies Hori
@bopred Yes, as they stated..."it wasn't pretty" and there is a lot to work on.
"Counties–Manukau ran more metres, completed more passes and carried the ball more times than Bay of Plenty on Thursday night.
The opposition made more tackles and missed fewer. They won more lineouts and didn't lose as many as the Bay on their own throw-in.
The Steamers conceded more penalties, didn't win as many rucks and mauls and made fewer clean breaks."
But the fact that we won after such a performance speaks volumes of how they "hung in there". You can't deny its a good start to the season however.
Steamers v Counties