PIC Steelers off to tackle Mooloo Neighbours on Saturday

Jason Robertson gets the start at first-five while All Blacks Sevens star Sione Molia returns from injury as the Counties Manukau PIC Steelers prepare to travel south for their clash with neighbours Waikato.

The two sides will meet at 7.05pm Saturday night in their Mitre 10 Cup clash at FMG Stadium in Hamilton that sees sixth-placed Championship outfit Counties Manukau meet third-placed Premiership side Waikato.

The PIC Steelers will be buoyed by their win over Manawatu in Pukekohe last weekend and will look to record back-to-back wins for the first time since 2018.

Coach Tai Lavea has handed Robertson his first start for the PIC Steelers after an impressive performance off the bench last weekend and in other matches so far this season.

His fast-paced, attack-oriented play got the PIC Steelers rolling in the second half against Manawatu and Lavea has rewarded him with a start.

Molia has recovered from a niggling knee injury that has side-lined the sevens star for the past few weeks and he will take his place at centre, with skipper Orbyn Leger moving in to second-five and Latiume Fosita to the bench.

Winger Kirisi Kuridrani will earn his blazer when he lines up for his 15th match for the province.

Sione Fifita and Potu Leavasa return to the starting line-up having missed the contest against Manawatu while Cameron Roigard comes back onto the bench as replacement halfback.

A win over Waikato would propel the PIC Steelers back into the semi-final mix at the mid-way point of the season.

Counties Manukau PIC Steelers: 1. Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 2. Zuriel Togiatama, 3. Conan O’Donnell, 4. Potu Leavasa, 5. Matiaha Martin, 6. Jonathan Kawau, 7. Alamanda Motuga, 8. Sam Slade, 9. Jonathan Taumateine, 10. Jason Robertson, 11. Sione Fifita, 12. Orbyn Leger (capt), 13. Sione Molia, 14. Kirisi Kuridrani, 15. Etene Nanai-Seturo. Reserves: Donald Maka, Clinton Malolua, Suetena Asomua, Viliame Rarasea, Viliame Taulani, Cameron Roigard, Latiume Fosita, Tevita Nabura.