Plenty for the QBE North Harbour rugby team to think about as they travel up State Highway One to Whangarei with the Mitre 10 Cup coming down to the final three rounds.
After their thrilling win over Auckland in the Battle of the Bridge last weekend it is now up to Harbour to either challenge for the top four or maintain its position in the Premiership.
Realistically they can move up to fourth place if they can win all three matches remaining against Northland away, Counties Manukau home and Bay of Plenty away. However, there is also a distinct battle for Harbour against Canterbury and BOP for fifth, sixth and dreaded seventh which means relegation.
It makes for an exciting competition and steady-as-she-goes selection policy too. There’s just one change in the Harbour forward pack and that’s through injury. Experienced prop, Nic Mayhew is out with injury which saw him leave the field during the Battle of the Bridge. He’s replaced by Teague McElroy who has been used extensively off the bench this season.
The rest of the forward pack continues with the same line-up which has been the mainstay of the team for several weeks with Dillon Hunt again leading from the side of the scrum.
In the backs there’s one change with Anotonio Mikaele-Tu’u in from the reserves in place of Jack Heighton at second five eight. The replacements have North Shore frontrower Alex Woonton in as prop cover and a relatively settled remainder of the lineup on the bench.
QBE North Harbour v Northland, Saturday 31 October, Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei 4.35pm
QBE NORTH HARBOUR TEAM:
1 Teague McElroy, 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 Antonio Mikaele-Tu’u, 13 James Little, 14 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 15 Shaun Stevenson. Reserves: 16 Zane Turner, 17 Alex Woonton, 18 Jimmy Roots, 19 Xavier Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Tim Sail, 21 Lewis Gjaltema , 22 Fine Inisi, 23 Jared Page.