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Goodger’s loss is Chaz Matthew’s gain

Greytown loose forward Chaz Matthews will start at No.6 for Farriers Wairarapa-Bush against Poverty Bay in Gisborne on Saturday. Photo: JADE CVETKOV

The Jeremy David Trophy in Gisborne on Saturday will take on added significance for Farriers Wairarapa-Bush.

Injury and unavailability has ruled out several players, and with the match being just one of two hit-outs before the Heartland Championship kicks off, time in play is at a premium.

Head coach Joe Harwood says the annual fixture with Poverty Bay will be crucial for his players to “build partnerships” and “gel together as a team”.

“To be honest, we’re just looking forward to getting the team out on the field and playing some footy,” Harwood says.

“At this stage, the most important thing is that we focus on doing the basics well.”

It will also be a good opportunity for individual players to “put their hands up” and stake a claim for a spot in the playing-22 for the competition opener against Wanganui on Saturday 26 August.

One of those players will be blind-side flanker Chaz Matthews who gets a start following the withdrawal of James Goodger. The Marist utility forward – the 2016 Club Player of the Year – has been ruled for the rest of the season because of a re-occurring shoulder injury.

Harwood says Goodger’s talent and leadership make him a “massive loss”, but it gives an exciting opportunity for someone else to step up and fill his spot.

Also getting a start is Wellington-based prop Gerard Faitotoi, the only loan player in the team. The 22-year old from the Norths club has been drafted in after ex-Wairarapa based Sam Tufuga was called in the Manawatu squad.

Harwood says Faitotoi is a “big ball carrier” and his grunt and power could be crucial against a team like Poverty Bay.

Greytown prop Nick Hohepa is unavailable for the trip north.

Carterton hooker Hone Vella is a late selection as the number two hooker, behind James Pakoti.

The versatile Eddie Cranston is captaining the team, playing at open-side flanker. Pressing hard for some game time will be Martinborough number seven Chris Raymond, one of the form players in the premier club competition this year.

Harwood says, a real positive at trainings has been the level of intensity with players putting their hands up for selection.

One area that will be closely scrutinised on Saturday will be the half-back first-five eighth combination of Piri Weepu and Sam Monaghan.

Harwood says Weepu’s influence at training has been “fantastic” with both the players and also coaches feeding off the former-All Black’s knowledge and skill set.

“We feel very lucky to have him on board,” Harwood says.

Venue: More FM Rugby Park Date: 12/08/2017
Home Team: Poverty Bay Visiting Team: Farriers.Wairarapa.Bush
Referee: TBA Captain: Eddie Cranston
Team: Farriers Wairarapa Bush
Loan Player Loan Use abbreviation and state lending Union Loan – Auckland
Overseas Player Overseas Use abbreviation Overseas
Returning NZ Player Returning Use abbreviation Returning
Local Player Local Use abbreviation and state the club the player is registered with Local – Petone
1 Jacko Hull Loosehead Prop Carterton
2 James Pakoti Hooker Martinborough
3 Gerard Faitotoi Tighthead Prop Loan – Wellington
4 Lachie McFadzean Left Lock Carterton
5 Andrew McLean Right Lock Gladstone
6 Chaz Matthews Blindside Flanker Greytown
7 Eddie Cranston Openside Flanker Gladstone
8 Brendon Campbell Number Eight Eketahuna
9 Piri Weepu Half Back Returning
10 Sam Mongahan First Five Eight Eketahuna
11 Inia Katia Left Wing Gladstone
12 Armyn Sanders Second Five Martinborough
13 Cyrus Baker Centre Origin – Manawatu
14 Nick Olson Right Wing Greytown
15 Tim Priest Full Back Martinborough
16 Hone Vella Hooker Carterton
17 Matt Kawana Prop Pioneer
18 Jacob Warren Lock Martinborough
19 Chris Raymond Loose Forward Martinborough
20 Robbie Anderson Outside Back Eketahuna
21 Matt McCrae Outside Back Gladstone
22 Soli Malatai Outside Back Marist

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