Extra man decision awaited
The South Canterbury rugby team heads to Greymouth today still awaiting their fate in the Heartland Championship.
The union has been caught using an extra loan player and must wait for the New Zealand Rugby Union's decision and possible punishment.
With only three loan players allowed coach Chester Scott has dropped Aporosa Tabulawaki, who is at the centre of the investigation.
It is not the Fijian wing's fault that the South Canterbury Rugby Union did not check his passport for his arrival date in the country but as it was outside the June 1 deadline, he should have been classed a loan player.
Scott has named Dutch international lock Stefan Vos, fullback Liam Edwards from Dunedin and former Taranaki development squad first five Rick McKenna as his three loan players meaning Tabulawaki misses out.
"It is disappointing for Apo that he has to become a loan player and misses out because Rick comes back into the side," Scott said. "Rick is very aggressive taking the ball to the line and can create something out of nothing.
‘With Sekope (Maea) at halfback it is an exciting combination."
McKenna has played just over 40 minutes for the "green and blacks".
He played half a game against Thames Valley, where he helped mastermind the great comeback, before being concussed against North Otago after eight minutes.
The backline will, however, be without key midfielder and organiser Fa'aitu Tuamoheloa, because of work commitments.
"He is a huge loss but I understand work comes first in the amateur game," Scott said.
Kurt Rooney will slot back into second five, as he continues to prove his utility value in the side.
The other change is a positional one with Jared Trevathan switching places with Liam Edwards and moving from wing to fullback.
Scott said they tried it last weekend in Gisborne and it worked well. "Jared just talks a bit more which helps organise the defence."
Tenari Saumani gets Tabulawaki's starting spot after impressing early in the Heartland campaign.
In the forwards Kali Latu holds on the No 8 starting spot in an unchanged pack ahead of Joeli Kotobolavu, who will be used an impact player off the bench.
The good news for Kotobolavu was that he was granted diversion for an assault charge from earlier in the year and the union is not taking any action.
In spite of the changes South Canterbury will still be more than strong enough to put West Coast away and will also be chasing the four try bonus point.
West Coast have only won one game from six this season but Scott is still wary. "It's always tough on the Coast."
HOW THEY LINE UP
South Canterbury (from 1): Matt Fetu, Nathan Tubb, Timaru Tafa, Luke Brice, Stefan Vos, Sam Vea, Eric Smith, Kali Latu, Sekope Maea, Rick McKenna, Liam Edwards, Kurt Rooney, Stephen Burt, Tenari Saumani, Jared Trevathan. Substitutes: Johnny Andrews, Afala Tailega, Joeli Kotobolavu, Nick Strachan, Scott Norton, Tanu Suavine, Nate Robinson.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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