Illness opens door for No 8 Blade Thomson

Last updated 05:00 24/08/2012
BLADE THOMSON: To start at No 8 for Taranaki against Bay Of Plenty.
BLADE THOMSON: To start at No 8 for Taranaki against Bay Of Plenty.

Relevant offers


'Tongan Bear' Loni Uhila to leave New Zealand in 2017 for Clermont Auvergne Jordie Barrett, Logan Crowley secured for Taranaki rugby 2017 Rugby Club's initiative could bring more to the region Shipping up to Boston: Robbie Malneek swaps Tasman Makos for the United States Johnny McNicholl undergoes emergency surgery just days after debut in Wales Canterbury face early Ranfurly Shield challenges from Wanganui, Mid Canterbury Zac Guildford hoping to revive his career in Waikato through sevens and club rugby Nigel Walsh steps up as head coach of North Otago Waikato and Samoa halfback Pele Cowley joins Willis Halaholo at the Cardiff Blues Southland's Knight in shining armour as national sevens spot booked

An illness has stopped in-form Taranaki flanker Kane Barrett from starting in tomorrow's National Provincial Championship opening round match away to Bay Of Plenty.

Barrett fell ill on the eve of last week's final preseason match against Counties-Manukau and only made it back to team training yesterday.

While he will still be used from the bench at Mount Maunganui, his spot has been taken by former All Black Jarrad Hoeata, which means a start for Blade Thomson at No 8.

Thomson, a member of the Hurricanes wider training group, got through 25 minutes against Counties-Manukau, his first hit-out after several months on the sideline with a back injury.

His contribution was more than satisfactory and impressive, considering he had been off the field for so long.

"Kane was due to start and deserved a start but because he has been crook, and is still not 100 per cent, we couldn't," Taranaki coach Colin Cooper said. "He will be better come Saturday but Blade is a natural player and it was great to see him get through almost half an hour last week."

Thomson's inclusion was one of several talking points in the Tenderlink Taranaki squad, with Cooper opting to start hooker Timo Tutavaha alongside the experienced Chris King, who will make his debut for his new province.

Elsewhere in the pack, Chris Walker edges out former All Black Scott Waldrom, who only arrived at training this week.

Cooper also revealed an exciting backline, with regular fullback Kurt Baker shifted to centre to allow outstanding Hurricanes player Andre Taylor to wear the No 15 jersey.

"We're happy enough from what we've seen of him there and we'll just have to see how that develops," Cooper said.

"It's probably one of the hardest positions to defend, so that's where he will have to work because we're not worried about how he can attack. If things don't work out then we've got Willie [Rickards] on the bench."

Young halfback Jamison Gibson-Park will make his NPC debut inside Beauden Barrett, while Waisake Naholo and Frazier Climo are rewarded for their good preseason form.

Several bench players should see some good game time, including Waldrom, Kane Barrett and James Marshall.

Bay of Plenty coach Kevin Schuler has resisted the temptation to start Tanerau Latimer alongside Luke Braid, the former only joining the Steamers camp this week after his successful Chiefs campaign.

Ad Feedback

There is talk All Blacks squad member Sam Cane will come on to the bench after being released by the national selectors, although Schuler has not named him.

The Steamers look to have an equally exciting backline with the likes of Lelia Masaga, Phil Burleigh, Chris Noakes and captain Jamie Nutbrown.

BAY OF PLENTY: Kendrick Lynn, Lelia Masaga, Mafi Kefu, Phil Burleigh, Jack Wilson, Chris Noakes, Jamie Nutbrown (captain), Carl Axtens, Luke Braid, Warren Lippi-Smith, Leon Power, Culum Retallick, Tristan Moran, Dan Perrin, Greg Pleasants-Tate. Reserves, John Paraenga, Mike Kainga, Keepa Mewett, Tanerau Latimer, Lewis Hancock, Nick McCashin, Lance MacDonald.

TARANAKI: Andre Taylor, Waisake Naholo, Kurt Baker, Jayden Hayward, Frazier Climo, Beauden Barrett, Jamison Gibson-Park, Blade Thomson, Chris Walker, Jarrad Hoeata, Jason Eaton (captain), James Broadhurst, Michael Bent, Timo Tutavaha, Chris King. Reserves, Sione Lea, Carl Carmichael, Kane Barrett, Scott Waldrom, Kylem O'Donnell, James Marshall, Willie Rickards.

- Taranaki Daily News

Special offers
Opinion poll

What did you make of this year's ITM Cup?

It was as good a season as I can remember.

It was great to see the smaller provinces perform well.

I caught the odd game here and there.

Sorry, it was an utter snore-fest.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content