Changes forced on Steamers

By Peter White

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MAKING POINTS: Bay of Plenty Steamers captain Willie Ripia will be looking to lead his team to their second win of the season tonight. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER 250813AW16BOP
MAKING POINTS: Bay of Plenty Steamers captain Willie Ripia will be looking to lead his team to their second win of the season tonight. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER 250813AW16BOP

Coach Kevin Schuler has been forced to make key changes to his side to take on Taranaki in New Plymouth tonight.

No8 Carl Axtens is out with a damaged hip, replaced by former Auckland age group star Joe Tupe, while prop Albert Anae has been called into the Wallabies squad in South Africa. Former Italian international Josh Sole starts at lock with Johan Bardoul moving to his preferred position at blindside flanker.

Steve Honey (concussion) and Dave Thomas (haematoma) were also injured against Southland on Wednesday night, which gives young Australian Elliott Hagan his first start at fullback.

The meltdown against Southland on Wednesday night has been the main talking point among fans and Schuler says the focus since then has been on making sure it does not happen again.

"We may be in the same position against Taranaki and we need to make sure we get a different outcome there. It is about on-field leadership, staying calm and composed, and focusing on the job in front of them.

"We were 25-13 up after 57 minutes and had the momentum. We had just won a kicking duel and they knocked the ball on. We had a perfect attacking scrum but we lost possession there. There were a couple of key moments around set piece and our ability to stay composed and the momentum swung very quickly.

"We needed that result against Southland but didn't get it. It is a short, quick turnaround and we have to beat Taranaki - it is that simple."

Bay of Plenty: 1 Kane Hames, 2 Nathan Harris, 3 Pingi Tala'apitaga, 4 Culum Retallick, 5 Josh Sole, 6 Johan Bardoul, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 8 Joe Tupe, 9 Samisoni Fisilau, 10 Willie Ripia (c), 11 Kimami Sitauti, 12 Nick Evemy, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 14 Tino Nemani, 15 Elliott Hagan.

Reserves: 16 Kalem Chan Boon, 17 Joe Royal, 18 Tim Bond, 19 Beau Robinson, 20 Josh Hall, 21 Sam Beard, 22 Junior Tofa Va'a.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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