Vipers set to bite back against Orcas
After a first-round thrashing, the Mid Central Vipers may be feeling a bit better about their home game against the Wellington Orcas tomorrow.
The Vipers host the Orcas at Wanganui's Cooks Gardens and have made a few changes to the team that lost 68-0 to Auckland's Akarana Falcons in the first round.
The big boost is that former Wanganui Heartland Championship rugby player Steelie Koro is available and will play in the No 6 jersey.
He has displaced Whiti Te Ra's Manaia Osbourne, but his kicking game and strength should give the side more attacking edge.
Linton prop Rikki Simmonds has been replaced by Kia Ora Warriors strongman Kele Kose in the starting lineup, with Simmonds out of the 17 altogether.
Taranaki's Reagan Coutts gets the other propping spot, with Whiti Te Ra's Kahura Cameron out of the team and Coutts' bench spot taken by Henning Petersen from the Linton Cobras.
Taranaki's Liam Parker is replaced in the reserves by Linton's Jaxon Samoa, who hasn't played any club footy this year and instead concentrated on the Defence Forces World Cup.
Samoa could slot in at fullback or in the halves and is a dangerous attacking weapon for the Vipers.
Whiti Te Ra's Ben Smila comes in on the wing for Andre Olsson-Kauika.
This will be one of the games the Vipers need to win, or at least be competitive in, and they should be able to on their home soil.
Wellington won the encounter 42-14 in Porirua last year after a poor first half from the Vipers where they were down 34-0 before waking up.
Kickoff is at 2.30pm.
The under-17 sides are playing the curtain-raiser at 1pm.
Mid Central Vipers: 1 Leon Walker (Linton Cobras), 2 Ben Smila (Whiti Te Ra), 3 Zac Waldley (Dannevirke Tigers), 4 Che Barlow (Wanganui Boxon), 5 Delaine Luke Mihaere (Taranaki), 6 Steelie Koro (Wanganui Boxon), 7 Cruz Rauner (Taranaki), 8 Reagan Coutts (Taranaki), 9 Waylon Shelford (Whiti Te Ra), 10 Kele Kose (Kia Ora Warriors), 11 Chevy Graham (Whiti Te Ra), 12 Jordan Davis (Wanganui Boxon), 13 Sam Bennett (Taranaki). Reserves: 14 Jaxon Samoa (Linton Cobras), 15 Henning Petersen (Linton Cobras), 16 Dean Grey (Linton Cobras), 17 Josh Kerr (Kia Ora Warriors).
Mid Central Vipers under-17s: 1 Cole Paulin, 2 Duncan McIvor, 3 Cale Karanga, 4 Jalen Luke, 5 Tioti O'Donnell, 6 Eli Kneepkens, 7 Tray Nicholson, 8 Vita Tomoana, 9 Satch Pryor, 10 Doriaan Apiata, 11 Enele Fidow-Kele, 12 Dylan Ruki Fowlie, 13 Jarvarn Nofoagaatoa. Reserves: 14 Paora Noble, 15 Daniel Rangitonga, 16 Jed Oliver, 17 Elijah Toetoe. 18th man: Anton Kerehi/Israel Gill.