Afternoon Mitre10 Cup rugby returns to ECOLight Stadium for the first Sunday of the school holidays when the Counties Manukau PIC Steelers host Northland at 4.35pm.
The PIC Steelers who drew last weekend in a tightly contested match that kept spectators on the edge of their seats are looking forward to returning home.
Head coach of the PIC Steelers Darryl Suasua said “We highly respect Northland and are expecting it to be a good battle. The key thing for us is to establish our consistency and eliminate the simple errors. We have patches of good performance so we need those patches to extend to the whole game.
In the starting fifteen the back line remains unchanged. In the forwards, Ronald Raaymakers shifts into the No. 6 jersey with the return of Matiaha Martin at lock.
The highest capped All Blacks Sevens player in history and former Counties Manukau Steelers player DJ Forbes will be honoured by the Union for his contribution to the game at halftime. The Counties Manukau U19s team will also present the Sir Michael Jones trophy, that they won recently at the Jock Hobbs Memorial National U19 tournament in Taupo, to the Union during the break.
Suasua acknowledged the lengthy career of Forbes and the U19s achievement saying “It is great to be able to honour DJ for his contribution to rugby. No one else has achieved what he has in sevens and he represents Counties, so it is important to recognise him and the success of our U19s on the national stage. “
This week’s rugby is the charity round and Counties Manukau Rugby will support the New Zealand Rugby Foundation who provide lifelong support to those who suffer serious injuries whilst playing rugby.
Ahead of the charity round, Counties Manukau CEO Bart Hoggard said “The New Zealand Rugby Foundation is a very special charity that’s very important to our sport and I want to thank everyone who is able to support them via our match this weekend. You can be sure your support is directly helping those most in need as 100% of funds raised today go straight to the injured players fund.”
Counties Manukau Rugby will be supporting NZRF on match day through bucket collections, programme donations, a ham raffle and pledge cards where a lucky pledger could win a 55-inch Panasonic television.
For more information or to become a member of the New Zealand Rugby Foundation visit www.rugbyfoundation.nz.
Gates open at 2.00pm with the curtain raiser a Bs battle for the home bragging rights between the Don Ha Counties Manukau Red team and the Bayleys Counties Manukau Black team which kicks off at 2.30pm.
The FREE Bouncy Castles will be available for kids and match day entry for those 13 years and under will be FREE on the South Auckland Motors embankment thanks to Pak n Save Pukekohe. Match day Grandstand tickets are $20 for adult Grandstand, $15 for Students with ID and $10 for kids. South Auckland Motors embankment tickets are $10 for adult and $7 for students with ID. Tickets to the match are available from CMRFU office, the gate on game day or www.iticket.co.nz.
The team is: 15. Tim Nanai-Williams, 14. Albert Nikoro 13. Nigel Ah-Wong 12. Orbyn Leger, 11. Tevita Nabura, 10. Baden Kerr, 9. Augustine Pulu (c), 8. Sam Henwood, 7. Fotu Lokotui, 6. Ronald Raaymakers, 5. Matiaha Martin, 4. Jimmy Tupou (c), 3. Coree Te Whata-Colley 2. Joe Royal, 1. Pauliasi Manu.
Reserves: 16. Gafatasi Su'a 17. Sean Bagshaw, 18. Kalolo Tuiloma, 19. Viliame Rarasea, 20. Viliami Taulani, 21. Liam Daniela, 22. Stephen Donald, 23. Luteru Laulala
Not considered because of injury or illness: Glen Fisi'iahi, Jonathan Taumateine, Sam Furniss and Suliasi Taufalele.