Fischli gets chance to make impact against Canterbury

Taieri loose forward Sam Fischli will make his first-class debut tomorrow night.

The powerful blindside has been named in the Otago starting line-up for its Mitre 10 Cup match against Canterbury at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch.

Fischli, who is an explosive ball carrier with good pace, had an impressive season for the club champions and gets his opportunity to shine at the next level.

He is one of seven changes to run-on side which recorded a comfortable 30-7 win against an under-par Northland side at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday night.

Otago coach Tom Donnelly will welcome the return of key backs Josh Ioane and Vilimoni Koroi.

The pair were stood down last week after breaching team protocol. They bring a touch of class to what is potent-looking backline.

Back-up first five-eighth Jono Hickey drops outs of the game-day squad to make room for Ioane, while experienced fullback Michael Collins has been shuffled to the bench for Koroi and will be expected to make an impact late in the game.

Veteran hooker Liam Coltman will captain the side and is part of an unchanged front row.

Lock Will Tucker gets the nod to partner Josh Dickson this week which means Jack Regan will start from the bench.

Midfielder Sio Tomkinson also returns to the side and takes Matt Whaanga’s spot. Tomkinson sat out the last six weeks following a high tackle in the opening game of the season against Auckland, while openside flanker Slade McDowall also returns after a serving a three-game ban for a high tackle.

Nasi Manu gets a start at No 8. His experience will help bolster the side as it looks to register its first win against Canterbury since 2005 when it beat its rivals 24-19 at Carisbrook.

Canterbury has been struggling a little this year. It has three wins from seven games and is outside to the top four in the Premiership.

It will also still be hurting following a 44-8 loss to Bay of Plenty in Tauranga on Saturday.

Otago has five wins from seven games and is well ensconced inside the top four in the Championship.

Otago team 

v Canterbury, tomorrow
Otago: Vilimoni Koroi, Freedom 
Vahaakolo, Josh Timu, Sio Tomkinson, 
Jona Nareki, Josh Ioane, Kayne 
Hammington, Nasi Manu, Slade 
McDowall, Sam Fischli, Josh Dickson, 
Will Tucker, Josh Hohneck, Liam 
Coltman, Jamie Mackintosh. Reserves: 
Ricky Jackson, Jonah Aoina, Hisa 
Sasagi, Jack Regan, Sione Misiloi, 
James Arscott, Michael Collins, 
Charles Elton.

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