Taranaki v Counties Manukau Live

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Taranaki                          Counties Manukau
Wednesday 2nd September 07:35 GMT


Although it is only the beginning of Round 4 of the 2015 ITM Cup on Wednesday, when reigning Champions Taranaki host Counties Manukau, at the Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth, the outcome is looking vital for both sides. The two sides currently lie in fifth and sixth positions in the Premiership table, but more worryingly, have managed just one win between them, and that by just a single point, when Counties sneaked home against Manawatu.

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Things could be a lot worse for the Champions, Taranaki, but they have at least managed to pick up four bonus points during the course of their three defeats so far this season. A win on Wednesday could possibly see them leap, if only temporarily, into the top four. Despite the presence of All Black, Beauden Barrett, released by the national team to get some more game time under his belt, and despite holding what appeared a winning 22-6 half-time lead last week against Otago, they failed to resist a second half comeback by the Razorbacks, and conceded the winning score deep into added time, to lose by 27-32.

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Counties fell to a thumping 11-35 loss at home in Pukekohe to Championship leaders Hawke's Bay, a hugely disappointing result after their fighting performance in Round 2 against Canterbury.

Posted: 14th August 2014


The 2014 ITM Cup gets underway on Thursday in Yarrow Stadium New Plymouth when Taranaki host the Ranfurly Shield holders Counties Manukau. Thursday's fixture will see the Crusaders and ex-Counties Manukau U16's representative, 22 year old Jordan Taufua, make his Steelers debut, wearing the No.8 shirt. Others making their debuts include the prop Pauliasi Manu and loose forward Dan Hyatt.

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The pivotal No.10 shirt has gone to Ahsee Tuala, rather than as expected to the Blues Baden Kerr. Hoping to make their Steelers debuts from the bench will be Sione Anga'aelangi, Sean Bagshaw and another age group player for Counties, Onosa'i Auva'a. Although Counties have named co-captains for this season's campaign, Augustine Pulu and Tim Nanai Williams, the halfback Pulu will skipper the side in New Plymouth, while Nanai-Williams is omitted from the squad as he is currently awaiting the birth of his first child.

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Taranaki will go into the season hoping for a more successful campaign than 2013, when they were threatened with relegation, ultimately being saved more through the inadequacies of the Bay of Plenty, rather than their own successes. While Counties finished fourth in the table, they then suffered a thumping 40 point defeat to Wellington in the semi-final.

Tags: ITM Cup, Counties Manukau, Yarrow Stadium, Taranaki, Jordan Taufua, Tim Nanai Williams
Posted: 2nd September 2015

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