Manawatu v Otago

  • Manawatu Turbos:
    15 Junior Laloifi, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Hamish Northcott, 11 James Tofa, 10 Jade Te Rure, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Brice Henderson, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri (c), 6 Liam Mitchell, 5 Tom Hughes, 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Tim Cadwallader, 1 Fraser Armstrong.

    Reserves: 16 Sam Stewart, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Sione Asi, 19 Sam Slade, 20 Brad Tucker, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Sam Malcolm, 23 Lifeimi Mafi


    The 25-year-old lock will start this weekend against Otago, less than one week after signing with the side on loan from Canterbury.
    But 2.03m Hughes is no stranger to Turbos fans.
    The former Palmerston North Boys’ High School student was playing club rugby for the Sky Blues of Varsity until making the shift south late last year.
    He played four games for the Turbos in 2014 before injuries ruined his 2015 and 2016 campaigns.
    He returned from his back injury in 2017, but when he missed the Turbos’ cut he took his opportunity to try his hand at a different province.
    “My partner got posted to Christchurch for the police so I thought I would go down there for a bit of a restart and play some footy down there,” he said.
    After an injury free season with Sydenham, he was pleased to be back playing regular rugby.
    He also got a crack playing for Canterbury in the preseason, turning out in the Game of Three Halves against Otago and the All Blacks.
    With the Turbos down No 8 Sam Wasley and the suspended Liam Hallam-Eames, he got the call from Turbos coach Jeremy Cotter.
    He was surprised to find he’d be injected straight into the starting XV.
    “I thought wold be here and be and be a help to the lads, I was not too sure about week one, but I am happy to be thrown in the deep end.”
    Hughes is one of four changes to the starting XV for the Turbos’ clash with Otago.
    Halfback Jamie Booth, first five-eighth Jade Te Rure and wing James Tofa will start.
    It will be Tofa’s first start for the Turbos after coming off the bench on debut against Taranaki.
    Tofa was a standout in the club campaign for College Old Boys where he claimed the Best and Fairest award.
    His selection on the left wing has seen Nehe Milner-Skudder shifted to the right wing for the match, with Te Rangatira Waitokia dropping out of the matchday side.
    Brad Tucker, Kayne Hammington and Sam Malcolm are on the bench after starting last week.

  • It's rather odd that with their struggling pack of forwards, the Turbos do not play Lifeimi Mafi in the starting XV. He's a big and strong guy who has a great experience of the fierce forwards battles of the Top 14. He is the kind of lock / Nr.8 who could bring more grunt and power upfront.

  • @cgrant Isn't he a midfielder though?

  • Ooops! I have took him for Steve Mafi. Thanks for the correction.

  • Sorry for the grammatical error. It's "I took him" of course.

  • Funny, I was reading that Manawatu line up and lamenting how many flankers are being played as undersized locks in the NPC these days, wondering where all the new big men are, and then I read on and saw the bit about Hughes. Don't know what he weighs in at but he certainly has some height about him. Even better, we can recall him if we need another tall later in the comp, after he's cut his teeth with the Poo!

  • Michael Collins (captain), Vilimoni Koroi, Sio Tomkinson, Matt Whaanga, Jona Nareki, Josh Ioane, Kurt Hammer, Dylan Nel, Naulia Dawai, Sione Misiloi, Josh Dickson, Tom Rowe, Hisa Sasagi, Sekonaia Pole, Aki Seiuli

    Reserves: Liam Coltman, Tom Hill, Donald Brighouse, Joketani Koroi, Slade McDowall, Melani Matavao, Matt Faddes, Mitchell Scott

  • Looking forward to seeing how Matavao goes off the bench. He's a real livewire halfback.

  • @dice Yeah saw him play for Samoa and he was very impressive. I remember this article about him last year

  • @african-monkey He makes a lot of plays and plays bigger than his size. It's good he's got a contract now.

  • That was a great try from Otago, although the defence from the Turbos was awful.

  • Of the 6 outside backs in this game 5 look dangerous. The other is Michael Collins.

  • @kiwimurph

    He’s a really good communicator though.

  • Thompson looking dangerous every time he touches it. If you were told that one All Black was playing in for Manawatu and didn’t know, you’d automatically assume it’s him - just a class above.

  • @kiwimurph Junior Laloifi has incredible speed.

  • @kiwimurph

    He scores now too...

  • He doesn't get much love from some Ferners (quite the opposite) but that was a great try from Michael Collins.

  • @stargazer

    I think it’s mainly just that he should be a Super rugby squaddie, rather than the player you select your back line around.

    Edit: and he did well to score it. Intelligently done.

  • Great try is overdoing it - was a nice finish but nothing special.

  • Bloody Poo playing poo. I picked them to win dammit.

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