Auckland Coach Paul Feeney has made just one change to the starting line up to face Waikato at Eden Park this Thursday evening (kick off 7.35pm).
William Lloyd replaces Liaki Moli in the second row, the later picking up a mild concussion in the loss against Taranaki.
Francis Saili, Blake Gibson and Wayne Ngaluafe return to the match-day 22 to each take a place on the bench.
Feeney said he is staying loyal to this group of players despite last Friday night’s loss.
“I am big on trying to be loyal and giving players the opportunity to rectify if there were mistakes. At this stage of the season we need to be building as a team and just need to tidy up in two or three areas.”
A win on Thursday night will go a long way in securing a semi-final berth.
“It’s not a certainty at this point that we’ll make the semis but a win on Thursday would put us in a very strong position,” said Fenney.
After a heavy defeat at the hands of the Mooloo men in 2013, Feeney said his side would not be making the same mistake this time round.
“We were 10% off when we went down to play them last year and we got taught if you mentally don’t prepare you get a hiding.
“Waikato’s backs are very dangerous. They are young and playing without fear. There is no easy game in this competition and we’ve seen that with results in the past week.”
Waikato are the current holders of the Stan Thomas Memorial Trophy, played for between the two Unions.
The Auckland team to face Waikato this Thursday is;
1. Sam Prattley (Pakuranga)
2. Tom McCartney (Pakuranga)
3. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Grammar TEC)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (Ponsonby)
5. William Lloyd (Marist)
6. Joe Edwards (Pakuranga)
7. Sean Polwart (University)
8. Peter Saili (Marist)
9. Junior Poluleuligaga (Papatoetoe)
10. Gareth Anscombe (Ponsonby)
11. George Moala (Grammar TEC)
12. TJ Faiane (Pakuranga)
13. Hadleigh Parkes (Grammar TEC)
14. Ben Lam (Grammar TEC)
15. Lolagi Visinia (Suburbs)
16. Gafatasi Su’a (Ponsonby)
17. Nick Barrett
18. Jack Whetton (Grammar TEC)
19. Blake Gibson (Ponsonby)
20. Wayne Ngaluafe (Ponsonby)
21. Francis Saili (Marist)
22. Simon Hickey (Grammar TEC)