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Same time, same place.

Tomorrow’s 2.30pm clash between Poverty Bay and the Hawke’s Bay Saracens is an important game: the last before the Bay plays Wairarapa-Bush here in the Heartland Championship season opener on August 25.

Horowhenua-Kapiti beat Poverty Bay 37-14 last weekend but talented first-five Andrew Tauatevalu and tough reserve No.8 Callum MacDonald proved that the Mana Otai-coached Bay can score tries. MacDonald scored in the 35th minute to give the side a boost.

“We’ll continue to execute our core roles and stay in our game-plan,” said Poverty Bay coach Mana Otai. “Guys are putting their hands up at training and in these pre-season games – which makes us have to think. That’s a nice problem to have.”

The forward effort against a strong ‘Nua pack suggests that the Bay eight will be more than competitive this weekend. If the visitors are to be successful, they will need to be sharp, accurate and industrious for 80-plus minutes. “The boys trained well at set-piece last night,” said Bay skipper hooker Tamanui Hill. “The boys are fizzing.”

Former Poverty Bay coach Taradale’s Mutu Ngarimu is again in charge of the Saracens, and has two former Bay Geartland representatived in his starting 15: locks Paddy Allen and Everard Reid with former Gisborne Boys’ High School First 15 player Ted Walters at second-five for the Saracens.
Referee Hugh Reed and his assistants Dan Waenga (AR1) and Mark Johnson (AR2) are all of Hawke’s Bay.

POVERTY BAY, 1-22: Campbell Chrisp, Tamanui Hill (captain), Andrew Petelo, Jacob Cook, Sam McDell, Kurt Taylor, Fawn White, Ken Houkamau, Mario Counsell, Kelvin Smith, Korey Love, Anthony Karauria, Mapa Tu’ipulotu, Matt Raleigh, Cameron Rowden.
Reserves: Shayde Skudder, Toru Noanoa, Mekepio Brown, Jesse Kapene, Willy Grogan, Andrew Tauatevalu, Te Peehi Fairlie.

HAWKE’S BAY SARACENS, 1-22: Paulo Nuu, Terry Marsh, Marcus Jackson, Paddy Allen, Everard Reid, Francis Ah-Him, Damien Scott, Tomo Fogarty, Zac Donaldson, Tianua Poto, Sebastian Visinia, Ted Walters, Star Timu, Ash Robinson, Johnny Ika.
Reserves: Teremoana Joel, Te Ririnui Kakau, Kelsey Miller, Etuate Tuanaki, Jayden Rihia, Trent Hape, Kalin Paewai, Neria Fomai, Fale Matamata, Elijah Martin, Lui Laumanu, Michael Vuicakau, Timo Vaiuso.

By Ben O’Brien-Leef –  Gisborne Herald

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