Taranaki VS Turbos

Yarrow Stadium, Friday, 24 August at 7:45 PM,
Score : 41-21,
to Taranaki

The Match-Up

Impressive form off the bench has seen Sam Malcolm and Hamish Northcott called into the starting side for the Turbos’ Ranfurly Shield challenge against Taranaki in New Plymouth on Friday.

Malcolm starts in place of Jade Te Rure at first five-eighth, while Northcott comes in at second five-eighth, pushing Rob Thompson to centre.

Lifeimi Mafi, who started at centre in the Turbos’ 24-19 win over Waikato, was ruled out through an ankle injury.

The Turbos have Nehe Milner-Skudder back on the left wing after he was again released by the All Blacks.

Malcolm and Northcott were injected into the last week’s game in the 56th and 49th minute respectively.

The Varsity duo combined well in the second half, looking dangerous on attack, which convinced coach Jeremy Cotter to make the switch.

It will be Malcolm’s second start in green and white in his 12th match over four seasons.

Malcolm has only been back in New Zealand for three weeks after spending the club campaign playing for West Harbour in Australia’s Shute Shield.

He said he needed to do something different this year, but he leaped at a chance to return to the Turbos for the Mitre 10 Cup campaign when he got the call from the coaching staff.

A season of injury-free rugby has helped the former New Zealand Under 20s triallist pull together some top preparation.

Northcott has also benefited from an injury free season.

The 26-year-old is now one of the squad’s most experienced players have donned the green and white 44 times.

He had additional duties in the preseason, filling in at No 10 for one and a half games.

The Turbos have made two further changes to their starting XV with Brad Tucker replacing the suspended Liam Hallam-Eames at lock and Michael Alaalatoa coming in for Sione Asi at prop after being rested in week one.

There are three debutants on the bench in former Auckland lock Sam Slade, loose forward Jackson Iose and utility back James Tofa.

The side will have extra motivation to wrestle the Log o’ Wood off Taranaki with this year marking the 40th anniversary of when Manawatu last held the shield.

Manawatu had won the Ranfurly Shield against Auckland in 1976.

But in 1978 the side controversially lost the shield to North Auckland in their 14th defence when the referee let the game run deep into extra time.

Post Match Report

Manawatu will be looking to quickly move on after falling short in their Ranfurly Shield challenge 41-21 against Taranaki on Friday night. The shield holders had the wood at set piece and punished the Turbos repeatedly. Taranaki racked up their scores on either side of halftime to shut out the Turbos, who looked dangerous at points.

Rob Thompson, Junior Laloifi and Anotonio Kiri Kiri were the shining lights for the Turbos on a tough night. Taranaki got on the board in the seventh minute when Manasa Mataele found space down the left wing.

In the 14th minute, Sam Malcolm and Nehe Milner-Skudder combined well on the counter attack and when the ball was spread wide, Thompson found space. His pass put Laloifi into enough space for the speedster to blaze his way to the tryline. But Taranaki wasted little time getting back onto attack.

Beaudein Waaka was the benefactor after Taranaki capitalised when Mataele won a high ball contest with Nehe Milner-Skudder. Thompson was in fine form and when he made another line break, Manawatu had all the momentum. Eventually it was Nick Crosswell who buried his way over the tryline.

The problem for Manawatu was that they kept letting Taranaki roll over the scoreboard. Tei Walden scored from the midfield after a monster Taranaki scrum to put the home side clear again. The Turbos scrum continued to come under pressure and Toa Halafihi added further hurt to the Turbos with a try to give Taranaki a 31-14 lead at the break. The scrum continued to be a concern in the second half with a scrum penalty gifting the opening points of the second half and then another setting up a try to Dan Waite. 

Thompson picked up a try of his own after a top offload from Kiri Kiri with 10 minutes to play. They pushed hard late for a four-try bonus point, but could not get over the tryline. 

The Turbos’ next match is against Otago at CET Arena.

Taranaki 41 (Manasa Mataele, Beaudein Waaka , Tei Walden, Toa Halafihi, Dan Waite tries; Waaka 5 con, 2 pen) Manawatu 21 (Junior Laloifi, Nick Crosswell, Rob Thompson tries; Sam Malcolm 2 con, Jade Te Rure con) HT: 31-14 Taranaki

The Team:


    Nick Crosswell

    Antonio Kiri Kiri

    Tim Cadwallader

    Michael Alaalatoa

    Fraser Armstrong

    Brice Henderson

    Liam Mitchell

    Brad Tucker


    Kayne Hammington

    Sam Malcolm

    Hamish Northcott

    Rob Thompson

    Te Rangatira Waitokia

    Nehe Milner-Skudder

    Junior Laloifi