PIC Steelers team named to face Bay of Plenty Friday night

PIC Steelers team named to face Bay of Plenty Friday night

PIC Steelers coach Reon Graham welcomes back some experience to help fill the void of more injury related absences ahead of Friday night’s Bunnings Warehouse NPC match against Bay of Plenty at Navigation Homes Stadium.

Man-of-the-match in last week’s agonising last-gasp loss to Hawke’s Bay Jimmy Tupou has been ruled out of this week’s match due to a finger injury, while Maama Vaipulu has succumbed to a slight back niggle.

Winger Benji Malimali will miss the game with a side strain.

Moana Pasifika star Alex McRobbie takes Tupou’s place in the starting line-up with Pukekohe’s Jadin Kingi coming onto the bench, while Sam Tuifua starts at blind side and Bombay’s Adam Brash makes his first appearance on the bench.

All Blacks Sevens star Sione Molia makes his first start of the season, on the right wing for Malimali.

Veteran utility back Ahsee Tuala makes a welcome return to the match day side on the bench for his first game of the season while Toni Pulu returns on the left wing after being a late scratching last week.

Ioane Moananu returns to the bench after missing last week.

Patumahoe youngster Cohen Brady-Leathem has been named for a potential debut off the bench. An ex-Pukekohe High School student and Chiefs age group representative, Brady-Leathem is the latest graduate out of the Counties Manukau Academy.

The game is due to kick off at 7.05pm and will see members of the 1993 Counties side that defeated Bay of Plenty in the NPC Division 2 final in attendance. That side helped Counties win promotion back to the 1st Division for the 1994 season.

PIC Steelers: 1. Kauvaka Kaivelata, 2. Ian West-Stevens, 3. Suetena Asomua, 4. Alex McRobbie, 5. James Thompson, 6. Sam Tuifua, 7. Sean Reidy (capt), 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 9. Liam Daniela, 10. Riley Hohepa, 11. Toni Pulu, 12. Nikolai Foliaki, 13. Tevita Ofa, 14. Sione Molia, 15. Etene Nanai-Seturo. Reserves: Ioane Moananu, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Salesi Tuifua, Jadin Kingi, Adam Brash, Cohen Brady-Leathem, Ahsee Tuala, Bake Makiri.