Rugby: Aki back at second-five for Counties

Bundee Aki. Photo / Getty Images.
Bundee Aki. Photo / Getty Images.

Counties will feature four changes to their starting XV for the ITM Cup match against Tasman at Pukekohe on Friday.

Bundee Aki will start at second five, new Crusaders signing Rey Lee-Lo moves back to centre, Toni Pulu starts on the left wing and Frank Halai moves to the right wing.

There are two changes in the reserves with outside back Ahsee Tuala moving to the bench where he is joined by 22-year-old lock Johnny Kawau from Bombay RFC. Kawau has the chance to make his debut for the Steelers.

Coach Tana Umaga said "We have had intense battles with Tasman over the last few years so we need to build on what we did last week [a big win over North Harbour at Albany].''

Jimmy Tupou retains his place at lock after coming through last week's victory with no further damage to his broken wrist. Tupou suffered the injury with the Crusaders but the wrist is said to be healing _ if required he will undergo surgery following the competition.

North Harbour team to play Tasman at EcoLight Stadium on Friday, kick-off 7.35pm is: Sherwin Stowers, Frank Halai, Rey Lee-Lo, Bundee Aki, Toni Pulu, Baden Kerr, Augustine Pulu, Fritz Lee (c), Maama Vaipulu, Adam Cathcart, Jimmy Tupou, Ronald Raaymakers, Jarrod Firth, Hika Elliot, Sam Aiono. Reserves: Michael Lea, Simon Lemalu, Johnny Kawau, Sean Reidy, Kane Hancy, Sam Vaka, Ahsee Tuala.

- APNZ

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