Redmond return boost for the Bs
Tasman Makos flanker Gary Redmond makes his return to the playing field via Tasman B when they take on Canterbury Metro in tomorrow's South Island Development rugby clash in Christchurch.
Redmond hasn't played since breaking a bone in his hand during the Makos' pre-season game against a Canterbury XV four weeks ago in Kaikoura.
But Redmond's match fitness notwithstanding, Tasman B coach Gary Stevens said that the lively No 7's availability gave them an opportunity to rest Mitchell Thwaites who, according to Stevens, has been "pretty battered all year round" as part of the Nelson club's championship-winning forward pack.
Redmond's fellow Makos squad member, lock Riki Hoeata, also remains with the Tasman B side after an impressive second-half performance last week against Canterbury Country, who Tasman comfortably beat 53-22 at Trafalgar Park.
Despite that scoreline, it was a rusty performance by Tasman B, which Stevens said had been addressed this week.
"I think for us, it's not about changing anything, it's about cutting out the errors and sharpening up," he said.
"For us, there wasn't too much that we did poorly, it was just a matter of drifting off the structure a bit. So having that commitment to the structure will be pretty important for us."
Stevens said Canterbury Metro were probably the team to beat in this year's series.
"They'll be pretty tough. We can assume it'll be a well-structured team. They will have quite a few of the guys who have been involved in their high performance programmes through the year, so they'll have a particular structure."
Tomorrow's game kicks off at the Christchurch Rugby Club at noon.
TASMAN B: Tema Faifua, Farrell Mulipola, Mike Lealava'a, Sione Holani, Kaide Whiting, James Lash, Shaun Begg (captain), Loa Havili, Gary Redmond, Nui Taufa, Jarrod Aberhart, Riki Hoeata, Ropate Rinakama, Logan Balsom, Mike Tyler. Substitutes: Fetu Ieremia, Christian Tupuola, Ben Sadrugu, Dan Karena, Loui Harvey, Lucky Mulipola, Kurt Lindsay.
The Nelson Mail