Counties V Otago - as it happened
Fri, 26 Oct 2012 6:42p.m.
By James Bennett
Hello and welcome to Pukekohe where Counties are taking on Otago in the ITM Cup Championship final.
Counties have been the form side of the competition, playing a running brand of rugby. Meanwhile Otago have been the quiet achievers in their quest to gain promotion back into the top flight.
We’ll bring you video live updates throughout the match, including video highlights of all the big plays and tries.
Make sure you refresh your page occasionally. We’ll add VIDEO COMING SOON when we’re cutting the highlights and VIDEO UP when it’s ready to be viewed.
1 min - We are underway in the final, an early penalty to the Steelers and they clear to touch. Good, hard running early on from the Counties backs as we head to a scrum just over halfway, Counties ball.
National anthem - Crowds are on their feet and belting out the national song. We also just had a minutes silence for Sir Wilson Whineray.
7:29pmUpdate, update...Someone has put $30k on the first stoppage to be a lineout, paying $2.10. Good bet? Or flush it down the dunny?
While you wait for kickoff, while you wait check out what could possibly be the worst ‘filth’ in a game of rugby.
Counties Manukau: Tim Nanai-Williams, Tony Pulu, Rey Lee-Lo, Bundee Aki, Sherwin Stowers, Baden Kerr, August Pulu, Jimmy Tupou, DJ Forbes, Mark Selwyn, Daniel Adongo, Ronald Raaymakers, Matt Talaese, Mahonri Schwalger, Simon Lemalu.
Reserves: Suliasi Taufalele, Maka Tatafu, Sikeli Nabou, Maama Vaipulu, David Bason, Kane Hancy, Tyrone Lefau.
Otago: Ben Smith, Marshall Suckling, Tamati Ellison, Glenn Dickson, Buxton Popoali'i, Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka, Gareth Evans, Lee Allan, Adam Thomson, Rob Verbakel, Jackson Hemopo, Tama Tuirirangi, Liam Coltman, Aki Seiuli.
Reserves: Shota Horie, Jacob Ellison, Adam Hill, TJ Ioane, Peter Breen, Jayden Spence, Tony Ensor.
Counties Manukau coach Tana Umaga has urged his players to cap off their national provincial rugby campaign with their best performance of the season.
The Steelers face Otago in the second-tier Championship final in Pukekohe in a battle between the two sides who finished first and second in the division's round-robin phase.
"This is a big occasion for our Counties Manukau rugby family," Umaga said.
"We really appreciate the support we've had this season and want to repay it, by putting in our best performance on tonight in front of our enthusiastic home crowd.'
Flanker Mark Selwyn makes his return in the solitary change to the Counties Manukau starting line-up.
Selwyn comes in for Maama Vaipulu, who has been named on the bench.
Counties Manukau finished the regular season eight points clear of Otago.
They also cruised to a 43-12 victory when the sides met in mid-September.
But Otago will have their All Blacks trio of fullback Ben Smith, centre Tamati Ellison and blindside flanker Adam Thomson on deck this time around.
The inclusion Smith and Ellison, who were in Brisbane for the final Bledisloe Cup Test last weekend, and the return of prop Tama Tuirirangi from a knee injury are the three changes to their starting 15.
The winners of the match get promotion to the Premiership, replacing Hawke's Bay.
Otago will have the services of All Blacks Ben Smith and Tamati Ellison.
Smith will slot in at fullback, replacing the in-form Tony Ensor, meanwhile Ellison joins the midfield relegating Jayden Spence to the reserves.
In the forwards, Tama Tuirirangi is back after injury and will play at tighthead prop while Liam Coltman takes over at hooker.
Captain Glenn Dickson will continue to kick the goals with first-five Hayden Parker nursing a hip injury.
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27/10/2012 4:36:55 p.m.
26/10/2012 8:40:55 p.m.
David Holwell wrote:
This dude is the funniest on the web man! I have the game on the tele, and these updates on the lappy! It's awesome bro!
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