Douglas Murray is out of the match-day squad and Fijian Temo Mayanavanua will start as lock in the only change for Northland during their next ITM Cup match against Otago.

Head coach Derren Witcombe has largely opted for the same players that got the job done against Taranaki last weekend and will no doubt look for a repeat performance at Forsyth Bar Stadium in Dunedin tonight.

A victory against the boys from the deep south and another at home against Manawatu next week will put the Taniwha in good stead halfway through the competition.

They sit on five points after home (Auckland) and away (North Harbour) losses and a win at Okara Park on Sunday against Taranaki.


Jordan Olsen will again lead the team tonight with veteran Ross Wright and Ropate Rinakama completing the front row for the boys in Cambridge blue.

Josh Goodhue, who played left lock last weekend, shifts to the right and Mayanavanua will be his locking partner.

Breakdown specialists Tom Robinson and Kane Jacobson will don the No 6 and No 7 jerseys respectively while Western Sharks' Matt Matich will play at No 8.

The twin locks and the loose forward trio will have to have the gas tank most definitely full for 80 minutes in both attack and defence to sniff out a win.

Tired teams are rarely clinical. They don't have the awareness to see the space quickly enough or the precision in their execution.

Jack Goodhue tries to evade an Otago tackle during last year's game at Okara Park, won 32-30 by Northland. Photo/John Stone
Jack Goodhue tries to evade an Otago tackle during last year's game at Okara Park, won 32-30 by Northland. Photo/John Stone

Halves pair Sam Nock and Jack Debreczeni are a shoe-in after decent performances thus far, particularly the former with his awareness to put runners into space.

Debreczeni will need to communicate better— something that seemed amiss on occasions, particularly when he threw a wild pass to no one that led to a runaway try to Taranaki.

Kicking should not be too much of a problem under a retracted roof either for him or Matty Wright who will again play fullback.

Tua Tamati and Jordan Hyland will play on the wings against the likes of Jonah Nareki and
Josh Timu if the pair are in the run-on side for Otago.

Rene Ranger will again look to lay his hands on the ball early and often and form a formidable midfield combination with Blake Hohaia playing at second five.

Former All Black Ranger brings that dynamic support play, tackling, and ball-pilfering skills provided the Taniwha's cohesion and accuracy doesn't slip.

Campbell Matthews and Sam McNamara will make their debuts off the bench if required.

Isileli Tu'ungafasi, Jack Straker, Kara Pryor, Jono Kitto, Myles Thoroughgood and utility Scott Gregory make up the other reserves.

The Taniwha pipped Otago 32-30 when the two sides met at Okara Park last year.

First five Peter Breen's boot proved decisive as the former Otago pivot had a flawless night from the tee, knocking over six penalties and two conversions for a crucial 22 point haul.

All Blacks centre Jack Goodhue played in that match alongside Ranger in midfield.