Taranaki ring changes for clash with Northland
Nine changes have been made to the Taranaki side for tomorrow night's national provincial championship rugby match against Northland in Whangarei.
The widespread changes follow Wednesday night's shocker against Auckland at Eden Park where the amber-and-blacks were smashed 43-32 - a scoreline that flattered the visitors after a limp start.
Five of the changes are in the pack, with a reshuffled loose trio the main talking point. Out goes Blade Thomson, who struggled to clear the ball at the back of the scrum, with his place taken by Jarrad Hoeata, who switches from the blindside.
In comes Kane Barrett, who hasn't played for more than a month because of illness, with Scott Waldrom starting on the openside at the expense of Chris Walker.
The other changes in the pack are at lock with James Broadhurst getting the nod ahead of Jason Eaton, Michael Bent back at tighthead and Carl Carmichael coming into the mix at loosehead to ease Chris King's workload. King is on the bench.
Timo Tutavaha retains his spot in the No 2 jersey with regular hooker Laurence Corlett still not 100 per cent after being hospitalised with a leg infection.
The four changes in the backs were all expected. Chris Smylie and James Marshall are the inside combination, with Willie Rickards returning at centre.
All three played in last Saturday's Ranfurly Shield defence against Canterbury - won 18-9 by Taranaki.
Isaia Tuifua and Seta Tamanivalu have been bracketed in the reserves with fullback Kurt Baker in some doubt after a knock to the knee. A decision on Baker will be made tomorrow.
Two players ruled out of the Northland match were winger Waisake Naholo and halfback Brett Goodin. Naholo rolled his ankle against Auckland, while Goodin suffered a head knock late in the first half after a collision with team-mate Jack Cameron.
The pair returned to New Plymouth yesterday along with prop Willie Ioane with the rest of the Taranaki squad heading north to Whangarei.
"Waisake is out and will be reassessed next week, while Brett was retested after the game and passed the test. But we thought it was best for him to have the weekend off," Tenderlink Taranaki manager Shane McDonald said yesterday.
"Jack had a few stitches for a head cut but is fine."
TARANAKI: Kurt Baker, Jackson Ormond, Willie Rickards, Jayden Hayward, Frazier Climo, James Marshall, Chris Smylie, Jarrad Hoeata, Scott Waldrom, Kane Barrett, James Broadhurst, Craig Clarke (captain), Michael Bent, Timo Tutavaha, Carl Carmichael. Reserves: Sione Lea, Chris King, Jason Eaton, Blade Thomson, Jamison Gibson-Park, Jack Cameron, Isaia Tuifua or Seta Tamanivalu.
Taranaki Daily News