Youngsters seem likely to remain unbeaten
The Taranaki development side have one final hurdle to clear to end their season with a 100 per cent winning record.
Standing in their way are the Wellington development team, a side dispatched 56-3 at Yarrow Stadium a fortnight ago.
"They'll be a completely different side," Steelfab Taranaki development coach Michael Carr said.
"I dare say they were not happy at all with some of the aspects of their game that day.
"We will have to go in with the mindset that they are going to be a totally different beast."
While Carr's wariness was understandable, Taranaki should only have to rediscover the form they showed that night, and produced for the majority of their five previous games, to win.
With wins over Auckland, North Harbour, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Wellington this season, their campaign can be judged nothing other than a success.
The ability for Tenderlink Taranaki coach Colin Cooper to drop down a number of his NPC squad to play for the development team has been invaluable, especially for players returning from injury.
Another example will come in the capital today where Isaia Tuifua gets a run, his first since breaking his jaw in Taranaki's Ranfurly Shield defence against King Country in Inglewood.
The style of play that Carr and his assistants, Andrew Slater and Kelvin McDowell, have implemented has also complemented the NPC side who have also used the ball as much as possible.
Carr has also been delighted with the continued development of several promising young players - the likes of former national schools loose forward Mitchell Brown and Tukapa flanker Adrian Wyrill.
The forwards are yet to be bettered and it is clear several of them would not be out of place in a NPC squad, including openside flanker Berny Hall and locks Leighton Price and Nemia Soqeta.
Kickoff at the Petone Recreation Ground is at 1.45pm.
TARANAKI DEVELOPMENT: Telly Hemopo, Avon Lewis, Isaia Tuifua, Ross Allan, Kylem O'Donnell, Daniel Brooks, Warwick Lahmert, Mitchell Brown, Berny Hall, Adrian Wyrill, Leighton Price, Nemia Soqeta, Ryan Cocker, Matt Goodwin (captain), Rhys Morgan.
Taranaki Daily News