Taranaki call in rookies for Bay of Plenty clash
Injuries to several loose forwards has forced Taranaki coach Colin Cooper to call in a couple of NPC rookies into his squad for Sunday's match against Bay Of Plenty.
A neck injury to blindside flanker Mitchell Crosswell has forced him out, while Doug Tietjens remains sidelined after he left the field a week ago against Hawke's Bay.
New Zealand Under-20 openside Lachlan Boshier looked set to make his debut but was also ruled out after he failed a concussion test.
Cooper has opted to switch lock Riki Hoeata to the blindside, while Berny Hall and Blade Thomson have been asked to back up from Wednesday's record 46-17 win over Waikato.
Former Melbourne Storm junior recruit Jesse Parete could make his debut after being called in from the union's development team.
The other change on the bench features hooker Abe Haira who replaces Timo Tutavaha after he also failed a concussion test.
The veteran coach's problems do not end there, however, after halfback Jamison Gbson-Park limped out of training yesterday. He has been replaced by Chris Smylie who will make his 100th NPC performance.
Warwick Lahmert is recalled after he was omitted for the Waikato match.
Wing Jackson Ormond has paid the price for some poor handling against Waikato. He has been replaced by Codey Rei.
Taranaki: James Marshall (captain), Codey Rei, Seta Tamanivalu, Charlie Ngatai, Waisake Naholo, Marty McKenzie, Chris Smylie, Blade Thomson, Berny Hall, Riki Hoeata, James Broadhurst, Leighton Price, Angus Ta'avao, Rhys Marshall, Mitchell Graham. Reserves, Abe Haira, Ryan Cocker, Jesse Parete, Toa Halafihi, Warwick Lahmert, Sean Wainui, Jackson Ormond.
Taranaki Daily News