Watch out Hawke's Bay - Otago players coming for you

Otago assistant coach Ben Herring at Otago training at Logan Park earlier this week. Photo by...
Otago coach Ben Herring. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Otago is coming for Hawke's Bay, coach Ben Herring says, and he believes the Magpies are vulnerable.

The blue and golds go into the Mitre 10 Cup championships semifinals as underdogs but Herring has the utmost confidence in his team to do the business in Napier tomorrow.

"The guys are fizzing for it and they have been really on the edge all week for the game. We are coming for those guys," Herring said.

"They have been playing the same style the whole season, used the same players, who are getting tired, and we are more than ready for them."

Otago has brought back fullback and captain Michael Collins, and key forwards Slade McDowall and Josh Dickson who all missed last week.

Herring said the returning players would create plenty of energy in the team.

Midfield back Sio Tomkinson is still bothered by a hamstring injury and will not make the trip. Josh Ioane starts at second five-eighth outside Vilimoni Koroi.

Herring said it would be exciting to have dual playmakers on either side of the field. The two enjoyed playing with each other and he was looking forward to getting the duo to create chances for their outsides.

The duo played there in the loss to Northland last week but did not get much of a chance.

Lock Louis Conradie is unavailable due to an injured knee and is replaced by Sione Misiloi.

Herring said if Misiloi got his physicality right then he could be destructive for the side.

Steven Misa will start at hooker while prop Aki Seiuli is at loosehead prop.

Hawke's Bay has impressed this season but it has lost two of its past three games.

It has based much of its game around its driving lineout work and Herring is looking forward to mastering it by coming up with options to negate the drive.

Key forwards Gareth Evans and Michael Allardice come back into the Hawke's Bay team after missing last week.

The side will be captained by Ash Dixon, who has been with the Highlanders for five seasons. It is unclear whether he will return next season.

Hawke's Bay has named six forwards on its bench as it looks to use its traditional strength.

Otago v Hawke's Bay 

Napier, tomorrow, 4.35pm

Otago: Michael Collins (captain), Henry Purdy, Aleki Morris-Lome, Josh Ioane, Jona Nareki, Vilimono Koroi, Rowan Gouws, Dylan Nel, Slade McDowall, Adam Thomson, Josh Dickson, Sione Misiloi, Hisa Sasagi, Steven Misa, Aki Seiuli. Reserves: Sekonaia Pole, George Bower, Saula Ma’u, Josh Hill, Mika Mafi, Connor McLeod, Taylor Haugh, Matt Whaanga.

Hawke’s Bay: Tiaan Falcon, Caleb Makene, Neria Fomai, Stacey Ili, Mason Emerson, Lincoln McClutchie, Folau Fakatava, Gareth Evans, Brendon O’Connor, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Tom Parsons, Michael Allardice, Ben May, Ash Dixon (captain), Pouri Rakete-Stones. Substitutes: Kianu Kereru-Symes, Jason Long, Joel Hintz, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Josh Kaifa, Devan Flanders. Ollie Sapsford, Jonah Lowe.


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