A special game for QBE North Harbour this weekend with the Mitre 10 Cup, 2020 edition of the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ against Auckland.
The first clash between the two provinces was in 1986 at Eden Park, midweek with a victory to the home side. Since then there have been a wide variety of results and a fierce rivalry has developed between the two sides. The last three years have seen a big win to Harbour in 2017, followed by the reverse in 2018 and a 28-all draw last year.
The North Harbour forward pack remains the same once again with just a few positional alterations in the backline. Jack Heighton and James Little make up the midfield while Asaeli Tikoirotuma is on one wing and Tomas Aoake continues on the other.
The two ‘Bryns’, Hall and Gatland maintain with their combination while the lively Shaun Stevenson is at the back in the No.15 jersey.
Dillon Hunt leads the side once again from the side of the scrum with the regular front row of Nic Mayhew, Luteru Tolai and Sione Mafileo. The two locks are the experienced Gerard Cowley-Tuioti and the huge physical frame of Jacob Pierce. Joining Hunt in the loose forwards are Ethan Roots and Murphy Taramai.
North Harbour has had a good record at home this season, holding the All Blacks laden Canterbury for the majority of the match in round one and then scoring a victory over defending champions, Tasman as well as a big win over Hawkes Bay.
The match kicks off at 7.05pm, Saturday 24 October. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2020/oct/qbe-harbour-v-auckland with a special deal of two general admission tickets for $19.85.
Paladin sport, which partners with both QBE North Harbour and Auckland have designed a special commemorative jersey for the game featuring one half of the harbour bridge on each teams uniform.
QBE North Harbour v Auckland, Saturday 24 October, North Harbour Stadium 7.05pm
QBE NORTH HARBOUR TEAM:
1 Nic Mayhew, 2 Luteru Tolai, 3 Sione Mafileo, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5 Jacob Pierce, 6 Ethan Roots , 7 Dillon Hunt, 8 Murphy Taramai, 9 Bryn Hall, 10 Bryn Gatland, 11 Tomas Aoake, 12 Jack Heighton, 13 James Little, 14 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 15 Shaun Stevenson.
Reserves: 16 Zane Turner, 17 Teague McElroy, 18 Jimmy Roots, 19 Xavier Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tim Sail, 21 Lewis Gjaltema , 22 Antonio Mikaele-Tu’u , 23 Jared Page.