New combinations in key positions highlight the Taranaki side named to face Wellington tomorrow night.
After their 30-6 mauling at the hands of Canterbury in their opening national provincial championship match, Tenderlink Taranaki coach Colin Cooper was always going to make changes.
What he has done is bench rookie first five-eighth Beaudein Waaka in favour of Daniel Brooks, another novice, while Chiefs hooker Rhys Marshall takes over the No 2 jersey after Timo Tutavaha had an uncomfortable night in Christchurch.
The changes have not stopped there, with Ope Peleseuma set to make his debut at second five-eighth, while Highlanders flanker Doug Tietjens also gets a first start after Berny Hall was scratched with a calf injury.
Peleseuma, who takes over from Isaia Tuifua, was always earmarked for the No 12 jersey but missed last week's match because of paternity leave.
Injured prop Chris King aside, this looks as close to the best Taranaki squad Cooper could put out.
Cooper has been impressed with Peleseuma since the Wellington man joined the camp.
"His voice has been very good, particularly with our 10, 12, 13, they are very novice in those positions, so it's important we have that voice," he said.
"Andre [Taylor] is a voice but is still learning the position and Ope is an out and out 12."
Cooper acknowledged Tutavaha had paid the price for an inaccurate match, although the coach did want to give Marshall a crack.
Cooper said the team would benefit with Tutavaha's experience off the bench and he was looking forward to some impact from one of his form pre-season players.
He felt his players' mindset was not where it should have been against Canterbury, particularly at the set-pieces, while he also thought a few were a "bit nice" in their exchanges.
"We need to change that mindset because we're probably coming up against the best scrum in the competition. We are looking for a big improvement."
Wellington are due to name their side this morning.
HOW THEY LINE UP
TARANAKI: Kurt Baker, Jackson Ormond, Andre Taylor, Ope Peleseuma, Waisake Naholo, Daniel Brooks, Chris Smylie, Blade Thomson, Doug Tietjens, Kane Barrett (captain), James Broadhurst, Jarrad Hoeata, Shane Cleaver, Rhys Marshall, Carl Carmichael. Reserves: Timo Tutavaha, Sione Lea, Nemia Soqeta, Mitchell Crosswell, Jamison Gibson-Park, Beaudein Waaka, Seta Tamanivalu
- © Fairfax NZ News
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