Rugby: Slade starts at fullback for Cantabrians

Colin Slade will start at fullback for the Cantabrians when they play warm-up matches against Wellington and the All Blacks in Lower Hutt tomorrow. Photo / Dianne Manson.
Colin Slade will start at fullback for the Cantabrians when they play warm-up matches against Wellington and the All Blacks in Lower Hutt tomorrow. Photo / Dianne Manson.

Colin Slade will start at fullback for the Cantabrians when they play warm-up matches against Wellington and the All Blacks in Lower Hutt tomorrow.

Slade, who has rejoined the Crusaders for the next Super Rugby season after three years at the Highlanders, has been kept out of his favoured first five-eighth position by 18-year-old Richie Mo'unga.

Slade will be hoping to be a regular starter in the No 10 jersey during the ITM Cup, given he will be aiming to do likewise during next year's Super 15 while Dan Carter is on sabbatical, but he has regularly appeared at fullback throughout his career.

Mo'unga, meanwhile, impressed enough during the club rugby season to earn a place in Canterbury's wider training squad for the 2013 season. He was not named earlier this week in Canterbury's ITM Cup squad but he will now get a chance to test himself against some serious opposition.

"This is a great opportunity for these new players in particular to get some valuable game time against formidable opponents, ahead of the start of the official ITM Cup campaign," Canterbury coach Scott Robertson said.

"Opponents don't come any better than the All Blacks, and it is a strong Wellington side that we will face as well. There is no doubt that it will be a great challenge for our guys, but I know they are also really excited to have the opportunity to pit themselves against some of New Zealand rugby's best."

Robertson selected a squad of 25 for the two tune-ups, 13 of whom will be in Canterbury's ITM squad, with the other 12 coming from rugby clubs around the region.
All five of the new caps named in the 2013 Canterbury squad - Mitchell Graham, Mitchell Drummond, Milford Keresoma, Belgium Tuatagaloa and Matt Symons - will get a run on in at least one of tomorrow's games.

Luke Whitelock and Willi Heinz will share the captaincy role and Robertson reckoned it was a great opportunity for them, among others, to illustrate their abilities.

"For some of our more senior players, such as Luke Whitelock, Willi Heinz and Colin Slade, it is a chance to show that they can play at the highest level."

The format of tomorrow's fixture will see the three teams playing three halves. The Cantabrians will face Wellington for 40 minutes starting at 4pm, followed by 40 minutes against the All Blacks at 4:55pm, before Wellington and the All Blacks will play the final 40 minutes.

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Cantabrians team to play Wellington XV and the All Blacks at the Hutt Recreation Ground in Lower Hutt tomorrow:
Colin Slade, Michael Green, Belgium Tuatagaloa, James Schrader, Milford Keresoma, Richie Mo'unga, Mitchell Drummond, Luke Whitelock, Jed Brown, Jimmy Lentjes, Luke Katene, Joel Everson, Siate Tokolahe, Seb Siataga, Mitchell Graham. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Nepo Laulala, Matt Symons, Aaron McCoy, Willi Heinz, Rob Thompson, Marty Swart, Sione Faletau, Jamie Verran, Yoshikazu Fujita.

- APNZ

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