Auckland coach Paul Feeney has made four changes to his starting line up to face Bay of Plenty in Rotorua this Saturday (kick off 2.35pm).
Youngsters Blake Gibson and Leon Fukofuka are both promoted to the starting XV for the first time, after performing solidly off the bench against Wellington. Ben Lam replaces the injured Vince Aso on the wing.
Liaki Moli’s strong cameo from the bench on Saturday also sees him return to start in the second row.
“Liaki’s impact up front was huge for us on Saturday. His physicality, accuracy and some of those little touches were great. Blake and Leon also stood out when they came on and they should build on the confidence they would have got out of that match,” said Feeney.
Auckland scored 25 unanswered points to steal victory from Wellington on Saturday and Feeney believes that will have given his team confidence.
“This team is pretty motivated and focussed after that second half performance.
“We showed ourselves more so than anyone else what we can do if we put together a good 40 minutes. We just need to do that from the outset. So we’re looking forward to the boys reaction on Saturday coming off last week’s display.”
TJ Faiane is set to make his debut off the bench.
The Auckland team named to face Bay of Plenty
1. Sam Prattley (Pakuranga)
2. Tom McCartney (Pakuranga)
3. Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Grammar TEC)
4. William Lloyd (Marist)
5. Liaki Moli (Manukau Rovers)
6. Blake Gibson (Ponsonby)
7. Sean Polwart (University)
8. Joe Edwards (Pakuranga)
9. Leon Fukofuka (Marist)
10. Simon Hickey (Grammar TEC)
11. Lolagi Visinia (Suburbs)
12. Francis Saili (Marist)
13. George Moala (Grammar TEC)
14. Ben Lam (Grammar TEC)
15. Gareth Anscombe (Ponsonby)
16. Gafatasi Su’a (Ponsonby)
17. Nicholas Barrett
18. Scott Scrafton (Grammar TEC)
19. Jack Whetton (Grammar TEC)
20. Junior Poluleuligaga (Papatoetoe)
21. Melani Nanai (Manukau Rovers)
22. TJ Faiane (Pakuranga