Fri, Oct 8, 2021 9:12 AM

Experienced trio return for Ranfurly Shield challenge

Alex Nankivell has been named in the Mako midfield for Saturday's shield match in Napier. Photo Shuttersport

Jonty Dine

The return of a couple of key forwards is a feature of the Tasman squad named to challenge Hawke’s Bay in Napier for the Ranfurly Shield on Saturday.

All Black Shannon Frizell comes back into the mix at number eight while NZ Maori representative Pari Pari Parkinson returns at lock.

Both are big game players who will provide a timely boost to the Mako as they travel north for a shot at history.

Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, who was in outstanding form against Southland on Sunday, moves to the blindside flank, with youngster Anton Segner getting the nod at seven ahead of more experienced loosies Jacob Norris and Hugh Renton, who warm the bench initially but will provide impact off the pine as the game moves into the vital final quarter.

The front row of Isi Tu’ungafasi, Andrew Makalio and Sam Matenga, who scrummaged so well against the Stags is retained, with Quentin MacDonald, Luca Inch and Atu Moli poised on the bench.

Alex Nankivell, another NZ Maori player, makes a timely return in midfield, Levi Aumua moving to the centre’s role, pushing the in-form Leicester Fainga’anuku to the left wing.

NZ Sevens speedster Regan Ware, who scored a try on debut at Lansdowne Park, joins Louie Chapman and rising star Macca Springer in the back reserves.

This will be just the third Ranfurly Shield challenge in Tasman’s 16-season history. They face a rugged Magpies side, who have become well versed in shield defences and know how to rise to the occasion.

Although most of the focus will be on the Log of Wood and Tasman’s opportunity to make history, the match is also a pivotal Bunnings NPC premiership clash, Tasman currently sitting on top of the points table with the Bay third.

The Mako team to play Hawke’s Bay at McLean Park, Napier on Saturday, kick-off 4.35pm, is: 1 Isi Tu’ungafasi, 2 Andrew Makalio, 3 Sam Matenga, 4 Quinten Strange (co-captain), 5 Pari Pari Parkinson, 6 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 7 Anton Segner, 8 Shannon Frizell; 9 Jack Grooby, 10 Mitch Hunt (co-captain), 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12 Alex Nankivell, 13 Levi Aumua, 14 Timoci Tavatavanawai, 15 Willie Havili.

Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Luca Inch, Atu Moli, Jacob Norris, Hugh Renton, Louie Chapman, Regan Ware, Macca Springer.