Plenty at stake for both teams

Otago No8 Dylan Nel's ball carrying will be key tonight. Photo: Getty Images
Otago No8 Dylan Nel's ball carrying will be key tonight. Photo: Getty Images
This is going to be a dance of the desperates at Forsyth Barr Stadium tonight.

Otago will take on Bay of Plenty in the midweek match of the Mitre 10 Cup for both teams.

Otago has plenty riding on the game - win and it will be into the Championship semifinals. But lose and the door remains open for those around it.

For Bay of Plenty, the stakes are even higher.

The side started well, beating Premiership sides Taranaki and Counties-Manukau in its first two games.

But it has not won a game since.

It simply has to win tonight to stay in contention for the playoffs.

Otago is coming off a great win over Auckland at Eden Park but much of that good work will be wasted if it loses tonight.

Much will depend on No8 Dylan Nel and his loose forward team-mates Naulia Dawai and Joketani Koroi. Dawai is a good ball runner but perhaps not as quick around the paddock as the resting Slade McDowall.

Otago beat Auckland as it created chances and took them when they came along. It is a simple game at the end of the day.

Otago has a good record in midweek games, having lost just three in 10 attempts since they started in 2011.

Bay of Plenty has lost first five-eighth Mike Delany after he picked up a pectoral tear last month. He needs surgery and is gone for the season.

Back-up Jason Robertson fractured his fibula against Manawatu and is out for the season. Youngster Kaleb Trask will wear the No10 jersey.

Experienced prop Solomona Sakalia suffered a partial tear of an Achilles tendon against Manawatu and is also out for the season.

Former Otago winger Fa'asui Fuatai will be on the wing for Bay of Plenty, having returned from a year of playing Top 14 rugby in France.

Former Highlanders prop Ross Geldenhuys will start at the tighthead for visiting side. He played for the Highlanders in 2015-16 and came on in the Super Rugby final in 2015 in the final minutes, to help the side to victory.

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