Cooper changes final Taranaki preseason side

12:26, Aug 06 2014

Taranaki rugby coach Colin Cooper has made six changes to his side for their final preseason match against Auckland tomorrow.

With the majority of their Super Rugby players now available, Cooper has brought in Blues prop Angus Ta'avao, Hurricanes forwards James Broadhurst and Blade Thomson, as well as Chiefs midfielder Charlie Ngatai and hooker Rhys Marshall for the match at Tikorangi.

While Ta'avao and Thomson came off the bench during Taranaki's 19-19 draw with Waikato last week, the remainder will be making their first appearances of the provincial season.

Several players remained sidelined with minor injuries, including Hurricanes halfback Chris Smylie and Highlanders outside back Kurt Baker.

The other change comes at prop where Mitchell Graham starts at loosehead.

James Marshall has again been named captain in the absence of Kane Barrett who has yet to receive a clearance because of ongoing concussion issues.

Taranaki open their national provincial championship campaign against Counties Manukau at Yarrow Stadium next week.

TARANAKI:  Jackson Ormond, Seta Tamanivalu, Charlie Ngatai, Waisake Naholo, Marty McKenzie, Jamison Gibson-Park, Blade Thomson, Doug Tietjens, Mitchell Crosswell, James Broadhurst, Riki Hoeata, Angus Ta'avao, Rhys Marshall, Mitchell Graham. Reserves: Timo Tutavaha, Sione Lea, Leighton Price, Berny Hall, Warwick Lahmert, Sean Wainui, Beaudein Waaka, Toa Halafihi, Iopu Iopu-Aso

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