NZ Rivals clash for the first time since 2014

NZ Rivals clash for the first time since 2014

The Mitre 10 Cup heads into the closing stages of the competition and with playoff spots on the line. 

The pick of the weekend fixtures sees two in-form sides face off with a Premiership home semifinal berth on the line.


Wellington host rivals Wellington with the two sides facing off for the first time since 2014. 

Past encounters

Played: 176 (1883-2014)
Wins: Auckland 94, Wellington 79, Drawn 3
Last match: Auckland 31 Wellington 30 (September 6, 2014, Premiership)


Current form 

Auckland started the season with a dominant run of victories before suffering their first loss of the 2018 season to Otago last time out. Meanwhile, Wellington have been in fine form since returning to the Premiership after three seasons (2015-17) in the Championship.


Both sides head into this game looking to get back to winning form with Wellington falling to Tasman.

Match-Ups

Wellington boasts a dangerous backline with likes of Hurricanes' Matt Proctor, Wes Goosen, Ben Lam and Jackson Garden-Bachop in the starting line up as well as Matt's younger brother Billy on the bench.

A Titanic battle awaits in the front row with Xavier Numia, Asafo Aumua and Jeff Toomaga-Allen battling Sam Prattley, Robbie Abel and Marcel Renata. 

Auckland possesses an extremely powerful back row with Candain Evan Olmstead, the in-form Akira Ioane and the exciting prospect of Dalton Papali'i.

TEAMS

Worcester Warriors-bound lock Michael Fatialofa returns from injury for Auckland, having been one of the Hurricanes’ key players for several seasons. Robbie Abel returns to start at hooker while TJ Faiane and Melani Nanai bolster the squad, while Jacob Umaga took his chance at fullback against Otago and retains his place in the starting line-up.

Jackson Garden-Bachop and Matt Proctor will run out for their 50th games for the province. 


Wellington:
 Wes Goosen, Malo Tuitama, Matt Proctor (c), Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Ben Lam, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Teariki Ben-Nicholas, Mateaki Kafatolu, Galu Taufale, Isaia Walker-Leawere, James Blackwell, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Asafo Aumua, Xavier Numia
Reserves: James O’Reilly, Tolu Fahamokoia, Joel Hintz, Sam Lousi/Will Mangos, Thomas Waldrom, Carlos Price, Billy Proctor, Trent Renata

Auckland: Jacob Umaga, Melani Nanai, Tumua Manu, TJ Faiane (c), Salesi Rayasi, Harry Plummer, Leon Fukofuka, Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali’i, Evan Olmstead, Fa’atiga Lemalu, Michael Fatialofa, Marcel Renata, Robbie Abel, Sam Prattley
Reserves: Mike Sosene, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Marco Fepulea’i, Jamie Lane, Hoskins Sotutu, Jonathan Ruru, Caleb Clarke, Jordan Trainor

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