Two changes to Spirit line-up

Scott Manson
Scott Manson
Nothing to see here.

Move along.

Otago Spirit coach Scott Manson has no need to make sweeping changes.

His side registered a comfortable 57-5 win in its season-opener against Taranaki in Dunedin on Sunday.

Northland should present more of a challenge in Whangarei tomorrow.

Manson has named a settled line-up. There are just two changes to the starting line-up.

Halfback Rosie Buchanan-Brown has recovered from a concussion and replaces the talented Rosie Kelly, while lock Julia Gorinski has got her exam out of the way and claims a spot in the run-on side ahead of Jess Kendall.

Exciting winger Trisha Hopcroft has returned from a brief trip to China and has been named on the bench.

The match shapes as a memorable occasion for experienced fullback Sheree Hume. She will be making her 50th appearance for the Spirit.

Manson's biggest headache this week was deciding what style of halfback he should go with.

The two Rosies offer something quite different and both mount a compelling case for inclusion.

Manson likened it to the friendly contest between All Black No9s Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara.

Buchanan-Brown is like a fourth loose forward, while Kelly's speed around the park is a tremendous asset as well.

"Ultimately, it came down to her [Buchanan-Brown] pass. Her passing game is very, very strong.

"That is essentially the thing that gives her the nod over Rosie Kelly, who is no mug either. She is a high-quality player too.

"It is not that dissimilar to the Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara duel, isn't it?"

While the Spirit had a very healthy win first up, there was amble room for improvement.

Otago trailed Taranaki in possession and territory in the first half by a significant margin.

"That all came down to us being offside on defence and getting penalised. We can't afford to do that against better sides.

"And we need to be more physical and aggressive at our own breakdown."

Northland has a big side, so Otago will look to play with speed and width and run its opponent out of gas.

Otago v Northland

Whangarei, tomorrow, 2pm

Otago: Sheree Hume, Cheyenne Cunningham, Amy Du Plessis, Kilisitina Moata’ane, Kiana Wereta, Hannah Stolba, Rosie Buchanan-Brown, Greer Muir, Morgan Henderson, Morgan Henderson, Bree Thomas, Julia Gorinski, Kate Smith, Eilis Doyle, Tegan Hollows (captain), Isla Pringle. Reserves: Gemma Millar, Claudia Hobbs, Jess Kendall, Hinemoa Watene, Rosie Kelly, Teilah Ferguson, Trisha Hopcroft.

Northland: Amanda Nepia, Manaia Webb, Kat Wira-Kohu, Stacey Tupe, Savannah Bodman, Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali, Justice Karena, Krystal Murray, Jurney Blair, Patrica Vaka, Eva Fulton, Tui McGeorge, Kahurangi Shelford, Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate, Kamila Wihongi. Reserves: Mai Anderson, Bron Hames, Helen Kapa, Alisha Proctor, Cheryl Murray, Tyler Nankivell, Jherhi-kah Hoet.


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