Inside job an NPC first for Eade
Scott Eade will start at halfback for the first time at NPC level in tomorrow night's game against Bay of Plenty in Tauranga.
Eade has represented New Zealand under-20 as a first-five, but has also spent time as a replacement halfback at club, provincial and under-20 level and is comfortable with the transition.
"At the start of the year I sat down with [coach David Henderson] and said I'd like to add another string to my bow.
"I played a few club games during the first round and then we had another halfback show up at Marist so that went out the back door. In the last couple of weeks [the coaches] have talked about me playing there and I came on against Manawatu and went not too bad, so this opportunity has come up."
Eade, who is also a handy goal-kicker, hopes the ability to play in either inside back position will make him more selectable.
He believes that having played at first-five, he understands the needs of the player outside him.
"I've never started a game at 9, but I've had a few cameos off the bench. That 35-odd minutes I got on Friday have really helped my confidence to adapt to the different things you have to deal with," he said.
"When I'm playing 9, I've got an appreciation of what the 10 wants. I think I've got a better understanding having played there, I know where he wants the ball in different situations."
Eade's aim is to be as competent at halfback as he is at first-five and if it looks like halfback is a better option for him, he may eventually look to specialise there.
For now, though, he will be part of a Southland team desperate to pull back a win after last week's disappointment.
The return from suspension of captain Jamie Mackintosh pushes JP Koen over to tighthead, while Talemaitoga Tuapati starts ahead of David Hall for the first time in this campaign.
Hale T-Pole replaces Michael Fatialofa at lock, while Naulia Dawai comes into flanker ahead of Tim Boys.
Calvary Fonoti starts at second-five, pushing Willis Halaholo to centre.
All seven of Southland's bench players have been starters this season.
Henderson said this week's selection had been a combination of rotation, reward for players who had pushed for a starting spot and a punishment for some who did not front against the Turbos - although he would not pick out individuals.
After reviewing the game video, Henderson had been impressed with JP Koen's starting debut at loosehead prop and he has been rewarded with a start on his more-accustomed tighthead side.
SOUTHLAND: Robbie Robinson, Bryan Milne, Willis Halaholo, Calvary Fonoti, Gareth Williams-Spiers, Marty McKenzie, Scott Eade, Elliot Dixon, John Hardie, Naulia Dawai, Hale T-Pole, Josh Bekhuis, JP Koen, Talemaitoga Tuapati, Jamie Mackintosh. Reserves: David Hall, Nick Barrett, Michael Fatialofa, Tim Boys, Tayler Adams, Cardiff Vaega, Tim Cornforth.
- © Fairfax NZ News