North Harbour ($2.45) v Southland ($1.50) as at @ 4.53pm 20/08/2014
Kick off – Thursday 7:35pm | Bet Now
It’s been a miserable few seasons for Harbour supporters but in the 14-26 loss to a good Otago side, coach Steve Jackson would have taken a number of positives.
The defence needs some work but if the forward pack, led by experienced players like James Parsons and Hayden Triggs, can deliver reasonable ball then the backline will shine.
That will be the plan on Thursday night against Southland with former Southlander Robbie Robinson, Tevita Li, Nafi Tuitavake and David Raikuna, expected to see plenty of quality ball.
For Harbour to make an impact in the Championship division they simply must win their games at home and restore some of the confidence which has been lost in recent seasons.
For their part, Southland made a promising start to their Championship run by beating Bay of Plenty in a high-scoring match. The key to the southerners this season may well be the signing of Lima Sopoaga from Wellington.
The Highlanders number 10 played a significant role in the first round victory both with his goal kicking and his general play and Southland will be keen to make sure he gets the ball in his hands as often as possible.
This will be a very tight game to get the second round of the ITM underway. North Harbour currently have a +3.5 Points Start – that could well come into play on Thursday night.
Forwards: Greg Pleasants Tate, James Parsons, Sione Mafileo, Mike Farmer, Hayden Triggs, Jordan Manihera, Zak Judge, Jim Tuitaviti.
Backs: Bryn Hall ©, Matt McGahan, Tevita Li, Pita Ahki, Nafi Tuitavake, David Raikuna, Robbie Robinson.
Reserves: Ray Niuia, Franck Fricconet, Brandon Nansen, Mario Ozich, David Bason, Daniel Halangahu, Luke Devcich.
FULL NORTH HARBOUR PLAYER Profiles – CLICK HERE
FULL SOUTHLAND STAGS PLAYER Profiles – CLICK HERE
~ RECENT HISTORY ~
Southland won their last match, in 2013, 34-31.
Southland have won six straight against Harbour, going back to 2008.