Rugby: Three changes for North Otago

Nathan Cargo
Nathan Cargo
North Otago coach Barry Stevens has made three changes to the side which beat West Coast last week, along with one positional change.

North Otago faces a tough trip to Masterton to take on Wairarapa-Bush, in what will be a rare experience for the North Otago players, as the match will be played under lights.

Stevens has moved Taua Limuloa into lock, replacing Jared Whitburn, while in the backs Oscar Pamment will start at fullback and former Otago Boys First XV midfielder, Aleki Morris, who plays for Harbour in Dunedin club play, comes into the side at second five-eighth, linking with another loan player, Southern centre Nathan Cargo.

Lemi Masoe will now start on the right wing. Because of injuries, winger Sala Halaleva (shoulder) and fullback Bryce Hosie (hip), were not available for selection. Former New Zealand Heartland and North Otago representative Jason Forrest, who is also the team's trainer, joins the bench for tonight's game.

Wairarapa-Bush will be playing its first game on the new Trust House Memorial stadium, an all-weather surface which cost $2.1million to develop.

It caters for all sports and replaces Memorial Park as the team's home ground.

The home team should start favourite after a convincing 36-9 win over Thames Valley in the first round and North Otago's rather ordinary display against West Coast.

North Otago got home 17-16, and made plenty of errors in a rather lucky win.

Wairarapa Bush has had a solid five-game build-up against a Wellington XV, losing 55-3, Wanganui, losing 19-12, Hawkes Bay, going down 58-7 in a Ranfurly Shield challenge, losing to a Wellington Samoa XV, 45-29 and beating Poverty Bay 53-17.

It has been bolstered by three loan players from Grammar Tec, Sootaia Fa'aso'o (loose forward), Viliami Hala (midfield), and Andrew Makalio (prop/hooker) as well as lock Wiremu Grace, from East Coast.

A welcome addition to the Wairarapa-Bush side is first five eighth Tim Priest, who played eighteen games for West Coast and scored 170 points and in 2013 made the New Zealand Heartland XV.

- Terry O'Neill 

Heartland Championship
North Otago v Wairarapa-Bush, Masterton, tonight, 7.30pm

North Otago: Oscar Pamment, Lemi Masoe, Nathan Cargo, Aleki Morris, Sale Pi'i, Ben Palmer, Cameron Keenan, John Kelly, Manu Taiti, Filipo Veamatahau, Taua Limuloa, Maene Mapusaga, Palenapa Mafi, Sam Sturgess, Ralph Darling. Reserves: Sione Palaa, Meli Kolinisau, Samisoni Tongotongo, Matt Duff, Inoke Naufahu, Jason Forrest, Sam Sirell.

Wairarapa-Bush: Nick Olson, Tipene Haira, Vilimi Hala, Andy Humberstone, Cam Hayton, Tim Priest, Cody Whittaker, So'otala Fa'aso'o, Chris Raymond, Brendon Campbell, James Goodger, Lachie McFadzen, Kurt Simmonds, Andrew Makalio, Matt Kawana. Reserves: Kody Thompson, Jacko Hull, Johnie McFadzean, Rima Marurai, Inia Katia, Matt Dalley, Paul Tikomainavalu.

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