Counties Manukau have lost winger Frank Halai with a hand injury for tomorrow night's game against Auckland at Eden Park.
In what could be one of the most entertaining games of the season, Steelers coach Tana Umaga has been forced to bring in Tony Pulu to the right wing, with the star of the New Zealand sevens team sitting this game out.
The other changes to the starting team for Counties are Jimmy Tupou, who was part of this year's New Zealand Under 20 team, moving from blindside flanker to lock with Jamie Chipman dropping to the reserves bench and Maama Vaipulu wearing the No 6 jersey.
Although Mahronri Schwalger and Daniel Adongo have added some real grunt to the Counties forward pack this season, it is still the team's backline that stands out.
Four of the backs in tomorrow night's game have been given Super Rugby contracts for next season, August Pulu, Baden Kerr, Bundee Aki and Tim Nanai-Williams, while it is understood that franchises are also closely watching Sherwin Stowers and Rey Lee Lo for next season.
Counties Manukau: Tim Nanai-Willliams, Tony Pulu, Rey Lee Lo, Bundee Aki, Sherwin Stowers, Baden Kerr, August Pulu; Adam Cathcart, DJ Forbes (c), Maama Vaipulu, Daniel Adongo, Jimmy Tupou, Matt Talaese, Mahonri Schwalger, Simon Lemalu. Reserves: Suliasi Taufalele, Maka Tatafu, Jamie Chipman, Sikeli Nabou, David Bason, Ray Laulala, Tyrone Lefau.
- © Fairfax NZ News