Official team lists and injury news for round one of the provincial rugby championship.
NORTH HARBOUR v CANTERBURY
7pm Friday, September 11
North Harbour Stadium
North Harbour: 1-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2-Lutero Tolai, 3-Sione Mafileo, 4-Gerrard Cowley-Tuioti, 5-Jacob Pearce, 6-Ethan Roots, 7-Dillon Hunt, 8-Murphy Taramai, 9-Bryn Hall, 10-Bryn Gatland, 11-Walter Fifita, 12-Jimmy Little, 13-Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 14-Ngarachi McGarvey-Black, 15-Shaun Stevenson
Reserves: 16-Zane Turner, 17-Teague McIlroy, 18-Jimmy Roots, 19-Tim Sail, 20-Tamarau McGahan, 21-Lewis Gjatema, 22-Fini Inisi, 23-Tomas Aoake
After missing the 2019 season through injury, first-five Bryn Gatland will provide a boost to Harbour's premiership hopes, while halfback Bryn Hall will face off against many of his Crusaders Super Rugby teammates.
All Blacks prop Karl Tu'inukuafe features in the front row.
Canterbury: 1-Joe Moody, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Fletcher Newell, 4-Luke Romano, 5-Sam Whitelock, 6-Reed Prinsep (c), 7-Billy Harmon, 8-Cullen Grace, 9-Ereatara Enari, 10-Brett Cameron, 11-Manasa Mataele, 12-Rameka Poihipi, 13-Dallas McLeod, 14-George Bridge, 15-Josh McKay
Reserves: 16-Shilo Klein, 17-Finlay Brewis, 18-Tamati Williams, 19-Mitchell Dunshea, 20-Whetukamokamo Douglas, 21-Mitchell Drummond, 22-Richie Mo'unga, 23-Isaiah Punivai
Canterbury will unleash their big guns for the opening match of the season, with six All Blacks named in their side.
Front-row duo Joe Moody and Codie Taylor will pack down in the scrum, along with lock Sam Whitelock and loose forward Cullen Grace. George Bridge is the only All Black in the starting backline, while Richie Mo'unga will play his 50th game off the bench.
Match-up: Blues second rowers Gerrard Cowley-Tuioti and Jacob Pearce take on Crusaders rivals Luke Romano and Sam Whitelock in a battle for possession.
WAIKATO v WELLINGTON
2pm Saturday, September 12
FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Waikato: 1-Ollie Norris, 2-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 3-Sefo Kautai, 4-Hamilton Burr, 5-Samipeni Finau, 6-Adam Thomson, 7-Mitch Jacobson, 8-Luke Jacobson, 9-Xavier Roe, 10-Fletcher Smith, 11-Patrick Osborne, 12-Anton Lienert-Brown, 13-Quinn Tupaea, 14-Bailyn Sullivan, 15-Damian McKenzie
Reserves: 16-Steven Misa, 17-Rob Cobb, 18-Josh Iosefa-Scott, 19-James Thompson, 20-Simon Parker, 21-Cortez Ratima, 22-Rivez Reihana, 23-Liam Coombes-Fabling
All Blacks second-five Anton Lienert-Brown will front up for Waikato, while fringe international Luke Jacobsen will captain the side, as he attempts to comeback from injury setbacks over the past 12 months.
Former All Black Adam Thomson will make his debut for Waikato, after previously representing Otago throughout his career.
Wellington: 1-Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, 2-Asafo Aumua, 3-Alex Fidow, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 6-Vaea Fifita, 7-Du’Plessis Kirifi, 8-Ardie Savea, 9-TJ Perenara, 10-Jackson Garden-Bachop, 11-Julian Savea, 12-Vince Aso, 13-Billy Proctor, 14-Connor Garden-Bachop, 15-Trent Renata
Reserves: 16-Tyrone Thompson, 17-Morgan Poi, 18-Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe, 19-Taine Plumtree, 20-Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 21-Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 22-Aidan Morgan, 23-Peter Umaga-Jensen
Last year's beaten finalists will field three players named in the All Blacks squad last weekend - Asafo Aumua, Ardie Savea and TJ Perenara - as well as former internationals Vaea Fifita and Julian Savea.
Their bench features four debutants - Tyrone Thompson, Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe, Taine Plumtree and Aidan Morgan. Plumtree is son of former Hurricanes coach and current All Blacks assistant John Plumtree.
Match-up: With his meteoric rise stalled by injury, Luke Jacobson gets to measure his progress against arguably the country's best all-round loose forward, Ardie Savea.
OTAGO v AUCKLAND
4:30pm Saturday, September 12
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Otago: 1-Jonah Aoina, 2-Liam Coltman, 3-Josh Hohneck, 4-Josh Hill, 5-Will Tucker, 6-Charles Elton, 7-Slade McDowall, 8-Dylan Nel, 9-Kayne Hammington, 10-Josh Ioane, 11-Jona Nareki, 12-Aleki Morris-Lome, 13-Josh Timu, 14-Vilimoni Koroi, 15-Michael Collins (c)
Reserves: 16-Ricky Jackson, 17-George Bower, 18-Hisa Sasagi, 19-Jack Regan, 20-Nasi Manu, 21-James Arscott, 22-Sio Tomkinson, 23-Freedom Vahaakolo.
Auckland: 1-Alex Hodgman, 2-Leni Apisai, 3-Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 4-Scott Scrafton, 5-Jack Whetton, 6-Akira Ioane, 7-Adrian Choat, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Jonathan Ruru, 10-Harry Plummer, 11-Caleb Clarke, 12-TJ Faiane (c), 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-AJ Lam, 15-Jordan Trainor
Reserves: 16-Mike Sosene-Feagai, 17-Jarred Adams, 18-Angus Ta’avao, 19-Liam Hallam-Eames, 20-Blake Gibson, 21-Danny Tusitala, 22-Simon Hickey, 23-Tumua Manu.
Coach Alama Ieremia has named his strongest-ever 23 in three seasons in charge of Auckland. Six All Blacks will turn out for the 2018 champions, with 14 Super Rugby Aotearoa players in total included in the matchday squad.
TJ Faiane will captain a side that features All Blacks Akira and Rieko Ioane, Hoskins Sotutu, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Alex Hodgman and Caleb Clarke in the starting side alone.
Match-up - Two tremendous young No.10s will do battle as Josh Ioane and Harry Plummer run the cutter for their repsective sides.
COUNTIES MANUKAU v TASMAN
7pm Saturday, September 12
Navingation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe
Counties: 1-Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 2-Zuriel Togiatama, 3-Nepo Laulala, 4-Matiaha Martin, 5-Lyndon Dunshea (c), 6-Sam Slade, 7-Dalton Papali'i, 8-Kieran Read, 9-Jonathan Taumateine, 10-Baden Kerr, 11-Kalione Hala, 12-Orbyn Leger (c), 13-Sione Molia, 14-Kiris Kuridrani, 15-Etene Nanai-Seturo
Reserves: 16-Shaun Muir, 17-Clinton Malolua, 18-Conan O’Donnell, 19-Potu Leavasa, 20-Viliame Taulani, 21-Johnny Kawau, 22-Pele Cowley, 23-Luteru Laulala
All Blacks Nepo Laulala and Dalton Papali'i, as well as former All Blacks skipper Kieran Read have been named in the Steelers side for their opening Mitre 10 Cup match against Tasman on Saturday night.
The three international stars will help form a near full-strength outfit for coach Tai Lavea’s first game in charge.
Tasman: 1-Isi Tu'ungafasi, 2-Andrew Makalio, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Alex Ainley, 5-Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Sione Havilli, 8-Hugh Renton, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Mitch Hunt (c), 11-Mark Telea, 12-Alex Nankivell, 13-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 14-Sevu Reece, 15-Will Jordan
Reserves: 16-Quentin MacDonald, 17-Kershawl Sykes-Martin, 18-Isaac Salmon, 19-Moni Ngakuru, 20-Jacob Norris, 21-Dwayne Polataivao, 22-Tim O’Malley, 23-Fetuli Paea
Tasman have named an electric back three for the mouthwatering clash with the Steelers.
All Blacks Will Jordan and Sevu Reece will be joined by 2020 Blues standout Mark Telea in a backline featuring seven players from last week's North v South clash.
Match-up: Sevens star Etene Nanai-Seturo and new All Black Will Jordan are two of NZ rugby's brightest young talents at fullback.
NORTHLAND v MANAWATU
2pm Sunday, September 13
Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei
Northland: 1-Luatangi Li, 2-Jordan Olsen, 3-Tyler Kearns, 4-Sam Caird, 5-Josh Goodhue, 6-Tom Robinson, 7-Kara Pryor, 8-Sam McNamara, 9-Sam Nock, 10-Dan Hawkins, 11-Jordan Hyland, 12-Jack Goodhue, 13-Rene Ranger, 14-Pisi Leilua, 15-Scott Gregory
Reserves: 16-Ben Tou, 17-Ross Wright, 18-Coree Te Whata-Colley, 19-Temo Mayanavanua, 20-Matt Matich, 21-Harrison Levien, 22-Wiseguy Fiane, 23-Tamati Tua
All Black Jack Goodhue will pull on his beloved Taniwha jersey for the first time in three years, forming an intriguing midfield combination with former international Rene Ranger.
'Big Red' Tom Robinson returns, after missing most of Super Rugby Aotearoa with injury, while sevens star Scott Gregory turns out at fullback.
Manawatu: 1-Tietie Tuimauga, 2-Sam Stewart, 3-Mike Alaalatoa, 4-Sam Liebezeit, 5-Teofilo Paulo, 6-Liam Mitchell, 7-Micaiah Torrence-Reid, 8-Brayden Iose, 9-Jamie Booth (c), 10-Ben Wyness, 11-Adam Boult, 12-James Tofa, 13-Josiah Maraku, 14-Newton Tudreu, 15-Te Rangatira Waitokia
Reserves: 16-Siua Maile, 17-Solomona Sakalia, 18-Kyle Stewart, 19-TK Howden, 20-Tyler Laubscher, 21-Aaron Smith, 22-Stewart Cruden, 23-Nehe Milner-Skudder.
Some serious All Black quality firepower will feature of Manawatu's bench with Aaron Smith and Nehe Milner-Skudder back in green and white.
Look out for outstanding captain and halfback Jamie Booth to have an impact before Smith is unleashed.
Match-up: The Manawatu midfield is in for a torrid afternoon against Rene Ranger and Jack Goodhue.
TARANAKI v BAY OF PLENTY
2pm Sunday, September 13
TET Stadium & Events Centre, Inglewood
Taranaki: 1-Jared Proffit, 2-Ricky Riccitelli, 3-Ben May, 4-Josh Lord, 5-Tupou Vaa'i, 6-Mitchell Brown, 7-Lachlan Boshier, 8-Mitchell Crosswell, 9-Lisati Milo-Harris, 10-Beauden Barrett, 11-Lewis Ormond, 12-Teihorangi Walden, 13-Sean Wainui, 14-Jacob Ratumatayuki-Kneepkens, 15-Jordie Barrett
Reserves: 16-Bradley Slater, 17-Reuden O'Neill, 18-Donald Brighouse, 19-Tom Florence, 20-Kaylum Boshier, 21-Warwick Lahmert, 22-Jayson Potroz, 23-Codey Rei
SOUTHLAND v HAWKE'S BAY
4:30pm Sunday, September 13
Rugby Park, Invercargill
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