Young rugby players gain starts
Two 20-year-olds will make their starting debuts for Manawatu in their must-win clash with North Harbour at Albany tomorrow.
Linton Army sapper Papa Wharewera comes in for Karl Bryson, and loose forward Antonio Kiri Kiri will play on the blindside flank with No 8 James Oliver out with his groin injury.
Wharewera, who has played a total of 47 minutes off the bench in the past three games, captained Kiri Kiri when they were in the 2009 New Zealand Schools side.
Wharewera looked snappy when he came on against Tasman, while Bryson was adjudged to have had a heavy workload in the opening four matches.
The rest of the team is the same as that which started against Tasman on Sunday, although captain Nick Crosswell switches to No 8 in Oliver's absence. Oliver should be fit to play Counties-Manukau at Palmerston North on Thursday, September 20.
Crosswell last started at No 8 in the opening four games of 2008.
Prop David Te Moana comes into the reserves for United States Eagle prop Eric Fry who needs a spell after his heavy workload. If Te Moana gets on it will be his 50th game for Manawatu.
Feilding No 8 Mua Sala has also come on to the bench with all three fit loose forwards playing and with No 8 Hamish Gosling out with his shoulder injury.
Times have changed, with Sala having played representative rugby league for the Central Vipers on Sunday. At least it would have kept him match fit in the absence of a Manawatu development team.
Hooker Rob Foreman and lock Michael FitzGerald sat out training indoors in the giant Arena 2 stadium yesterday - the grass field waterlogged everywhere.
Foreman has had an infected elbow for more than a week and is on antibiotics. He has played a record 73 consecutive games for the Turbos and won't want to break that sequence, while FitzGerald needs fluid drained off a knee but is expected to play.
Manawatu team to play North Harbour tomorrow night: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Craig Clare, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Matenga Baker, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Tomasi Cama, 9 Papa Wharewera; 8 Nick Crosswell (captain), 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 5 Michael FitzGerald, 4 Fraser Stone, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Grant Polson.
Subs: 16 Bryn Templeman, 17 David Te Moana, 18 Reece Robinson, 19 Mua Sala, 20 Karl Bryson, 21 Lewis Marshall, 22 Willie Paia'aua. The Turbos will recognise the death of former Manawatu coach Garth Thelin by wearing black armbands during the match against Counties-Manukau next week. It was deemed more appropriate to honour the 1989 coach at a home game.
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