Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Last chance saloon for Bay of Plenty Steamers

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Time has run out for the Bay of Plenty Steamers.

They simply have to beat Hawke's Bay in their final match tomorrow in Napier to have any chance of making the Mitre 10 Cup Championship semifinals.

And they also need either North Harbour or Manawatu, who are currently third and fourth, to lose their final game.

Manawatu play Otago in Palmerston North tonight while North Harbour travel to Whangarei to face Northland on Sunday afternoon.

"If Manawatu happen to get up that closes one door for us but we can't worry about that. We just have to go out there and be the best we can be," Steamers head coach Clayton McMillan said.

The injury crisis that has tainted the whole 2016 campaign for the Steamers continues, particularly in the forwards.

Tighthead prop Jeff Thwaites may have to revert back to his days in the Tauranga Boys' College First XV as he has been training at lock and blindside flanker all week.

Read more:
Steamers named to play Hawke's Bay

"Seb Siataga might come back and play for us but he hasn't played all year. He still has a dodgy knee but he may have to play as our hooking stocks have become low again," McMillan said.

"Chase Tiatia, Elijah Nicholas and Terrence Hepetema have come back into contention but we have to weigh that with how much rugby they haven't had and whether they will actually add much value to us, above the guys who have been playing for us over the last few weeks."

Despite all the tension and hype flying around tomorrow's Battle of the Bays, McMillan is staying very much grounded ahead of one of the biggest games for the Bay of Plenty union in years.

"It has been the same week's preparation. Obviously we are acutely aware of all the permutations and what we need to do to make the semifinals.

"I guess our focus has been on things we can control and that's our performance on Saturday, not what is happening in the other games.

"We look good when we do the basics well. We want to focus on getting the small bits of our game right and if we do that we know we have the ability to score tries."

Hawke's Bay defeated Bay of Plenty in a Ranfurly Shield challenge and semifinal last year that could both have gone the Steamers' way.

The Magpies in 2016 have had a season to forget with just two wins and have been relegated from the Premiership.

"I think they will be highly disappointed that they have been relegated but if they are the team that we think they are, then they will want to finish their season strong," McMillan said.

"A good performance in the last game of the season for them could be how they set the tone for next year. Individuals are still playing for Super Rugby contracts and contracts within their own PU (provincial union).

"I would like to think we are playing in an environment where people go out and put their best foot forward in every game regardless of whether they are going to be playing in finals or semifinals, and that is the same for us."

Bay of Plenty v Hawke's Bay, Napier, tomorrow, 5.35pm
Bay of Plenty team named later today on bayofplentytimes.co.nz

- Bay of Plenty Times

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