Belief and tackling keys to success

The Otago Spirit could be a lot more threatening with just a bit more belief, coach Scott Manson says.

And making a few more tackles might help as well.

The Spirit missed 37 of them in its 37-7 loss to Counties-Manukau last week.

It was Otago’s third consecutive loss in the premiership.

The team has been competitive in patches. But a key to beating Waikato at Forsyth Barr Stadium today will be having more faith in its ability and staying focused for longer.

Manson felt his team tuned out a tad during the final 20 minutes of the first half against Counties Manukau.

The missed tackle tally climbed and the game slipped away.

‘‘When we broke that game down a bit there, we 37 missed tackles,’’ Manson said.

‘‘There were quite a few individual errors. When you break it down and say if that person would have made that tackle there then this whole thing here does not happen.

‘‘That second 20 minutes of the first half was mentally probably a bit crucial where individuals were just switched off.

‘‘The other thing is, we know Counties were definitely worried about us. But a big focus for us this week has been around our belief.

‘‘If other teams believe we’re a threat then we’ve got to believe that as well.’’

Manson has made five personnel changes to the run-on side.

Experienced second five Kilisitina Moata’ane returns from a break for concussion.

Her presence in the midfield will help reduce the threat posed by Waikato pair Chelsea Alley and Carla Hohepa. She will also add a lot of punch on attack.

Cheyenne Cunningham will start at fullback. She has been sidelined with a back complaint and has also had work commitments.

Daimzel Rongokea has the No14 jersey in the only other change to the back line.

Up front, the in-form Paige Church replaces Rebekah Wairau at tighthead, and Chaz Tumu-Makara will start at lock, alongside the experienced Julia Gorinski.

Waikato, the beaten finalist last season, has one win from two games. It loss came against the defending champion Canterbury.


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