The Steamers side to take on Northland at Rotorua International Stadium at 5.45pm on Friday features four changes to the starting line-up which narrowly lost to Otago last Sunday.

The only change in the forwards has Te Puke Sports' Aidan Ross starting at loosehead prop, with Siegfried Fisi'ihoi moving to the bench.

In the backs, Rangataua's Ruki Tipuna will run out for his blazer game as the starting half back, with Te Aihe Toma moving to the number 21 jersey.

All Blacks Sevens player Teddy Stanaway returns from injury to start at centre replacing the injured Lalakai Foketi. Isaac Te Aute starts at fullback with Te Rangi Fraser shifting to the reserves.

The bench also sees the return of Te Puna's Shahn Eru after being sidelined with concussion and the inclusion of Tauranga Sports first-five Nick Evemy from the Bay Development team.

"This week's game is pivotal to the fortunes of both teams," Steamers head coach Clayton McMillan said.


"Northland look like a team growing in confidence, and their combative performances in recent weeks against quality opponents has not been lost on us.

"We expect a war and have prepared accordingly. We also look forward to returning to the Rotorua International Stadium where the players thoroughly enjoy playing."

The game will celebrate club rugby and the 1976 Bay of Plenty team that won the inaugural NPC title.

Up to 200 junior club rugby players will be involved in a march past and the Steamers players will run out in their club rugby socks to recognise the support and appreciation from their Bay of Plenty rugby clubs.

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union and its Presidents Group will host the 1976 team that won the first National Provincial Championship on September 18, 1976.

The Rugby Cup, now the Mitre 10 Cup, will be proudly displayed and reunited with the Bay of Plenty side after first being lifted by captain Tuck Waaka after the 10-7 victory over Hawkes Bay in Rotorua.

The team will be formally acknowledge and recognised for their achievement at halftime in front of the Rotorua crowd.

BOP team to play Northland:

1. Aidan Ross
2. Liam Polwart
3. Pingi Tala'apitaga
4. Troy Callander
5. Culum Retallick
6. Jesse Parete
7. Hugh Blake
8. Joe Tupe
9. Ruki Tipuna
10. Kelly Haimona
11. Regan Ware
12. Terrence Hepetema
13. Teddy Stanaway
14. Monty Ioane
15. Isaac Te Aute

16. James O'Reilly
17. Aidan Ross
18. Siegfried Fisi'ihoi
19. Shahn Eru
20. Henry Stowers
21. Te Aihe Toma
22. Nick Evemy
23. Te Rangi Fraser