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Steamers set for the Battle of the Bays challenge

Friday, September 27, 2019
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Bay of Plenty Steamers coach Clayton McMillan says, his side recognise they will face one of their toughest challenges in the BNZ Battle of the Bays on Saturday.

Hawke’s Bay and the Steamers currently sit first and second respectively on the Mitre 10 Cup Championship table and are set to do battle at Tauranga Domain this Saturday at 2.35pm.

“The boys recognise the challenge ahead of them and it’s a short turnaround. So, they just have to roll their sleeves up and get stuck into it”, McMillan says.

Bay of Plenty came away with an impressive 46-22 win over Northland last weekend, but McMillan says, the side came away with areas they will need to work on before their clash with Hawke’s Bay.

“There was a lot of good things that came out of last weekend’s game but equally there is still some things that we need to address so we can move forward.

“We are giving up the ball a little too much. We are giving our boys a licence to play, but in doing that, I think our decision making around when to play and when to just consolidate and build a bit more pressure through phase play.

“We are turning the ball over a bit too cheaply at times, particularly in positions in the field where we have opportunities to score.”

McMillan says, Hawke’s Bay is a dangerous side, but the emphasis was on getting his side, to focus on doing the basics right.

“Hawke’s Bay is a pretty balanced side. They have a lot of speed out wide and some good game drivers that put them in the right parts of the field.

“They’ve been particularly impressive this season and almost scoring at will. We really need to be accurate in everything we do, to minimise their opportunities to gain momentum from our own errors.”

One player who has stood out for the Steamers this season is regular fullback Chase Tiatia. At 189cm tall and 97kg, Tiatia moved into the midfield against Northland and looked confident in the new role.

“I think he is making a pretty good fist of it. As we all know, he is somebody who likes to get his hands on the ball. By putting him into 12, he can do that. He’s a confident player. You put him at loose forward, he’d probably think he could do a good job there and maybe he would.”

The coach says, having Tiatia closer to the action gave the 42-game veteran the opportunity to bring his voice and experience into play for the Steamers.

“One of his greatest assets, is he is good in congested space. He can find space that other people can’t. Ultimately, he is a talented rugby player and will give his best in whatever position you put him into.”

The curtain raiser for the match, will see the Bay of Plenty Ngāwhā playing their final game of the season against Taranaki Hokioi. A win against Taranaki, will secure the Northern Region Men’s B competition title for the Ngāwhā. It will be the first time in the team’s history, they have won the title. Kick-off for the game is 12pm.

Some silverware is up for grabs in this match with Macrae-Shelford Bay Cup on the line. The cup, honours two stalwarts of the game, Ian Macrae and Frank Shelford who have both represented the All Blacks and both provinces.

Saturday’s match is sponsored by BNZ with both BNZ and Bay of Plenty Rugby Union partnering with the Good Neighbour Charity who will be collecting donations at the game.

Bay of Plenty Steamers:

1. Aidan Ross (31)
2. Nathan Vella (4)
3. Jeff Thwaites (38)
4. Baden Wardlaw (15)
5. Alex Ainley (4)
6. Tom Franklin (11)
7. Mitchell Karpik (23)
8. Hoani Matenga (15)
9. Richard Judd (24)
10. Kaleb Trask (11)
11. Joe Ravouvou (5)
12. Chase Tiatia (42)
13. Mathew Skipwith-Garland** (14)
14. Emoni Narawa (8)
15. Pryor Collier (2)
16. Kurt Eklund (7)
17. Tevita Mafileo (6)
18. Ross Geldenhuys (15)
19. Aaron Carroll (16)
20. Hugh Blake (31)
21. Leroy Carter (6)
22. Jason Robertson (10)
23. Dennon Robinson-Bartlett* (0)

* Denotes debut
** Denotes blazer game – 15 games
() Denotes number of games
Team subject to change

Game Details:
Sunday September 28
Tauranga Domain
Gates Open at 11.30am
Curtain Raiser: Bay of Plenty Ngāwhā vs Taranaki Hokioi kick-off 12.00pm
Bay of Plenty Steamers vs Hawke’s Bay Magpies Kick-off 2.35pm

Purchase tickets online here
Tickets will be available to purchase at the ticket booth outside Tauranga Domain on game day from 10am

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