Steelform Whanganui co-coach Jason Hamlin might have to make more sweeping changes to the backline for their crucial Mitre 10 Heartland derby clash with Horowhenua-Kapiti tomorrow, even if it is the last thing he wants.

A slight hamstring strain for the competition's top tryscorer Timoci Seruwalu, who also got a hat trick last time in Levin during the 38-17 preseason win, could mean a reshuffle with Craig Clare moving to second-five, while the other standout from last Saturday in winger Cameron Crowley is also a maybe, bracketed with Samu Kubunavanua.

Winger Simon Dibben is back from his injury and on standby for the bench, should Kaveni Dabenaise start at centre, while Dane Whale will either stay with the team or join forwards Cade Robinson and Gabriel Hakaraia in the Whanganui Maori squad heading to New Plymouth.

Ideally, Hamlin would not change a single player from the backline which netted 10 of the 13 tries against King Country.


"You'd be hard pressed to be overly critical of anybody from last week.

"It seems like all these balls we got juggling. Just not 100 per cent sure."

Roman Tutauha returns to the starting hooker role and the captaincy for Cole Baldwin, while lock and loose forward Campbell Hart could be ready to make another comeback from his groin strain, currently bracketed with Josh Lane on the bench.

Tomorrow's battle between second and fourth on the ladder could not only decide getting a Meads Cup home semifinal, but possibly the loser would be long odds to make the Top 4 at all on the compacted table.

Horowhenua-Kapiti beat Wairarapa Bush at Wellington's Westpac Stadium on Sunday, meaning Hamlin was able to access top-notch game footage, courtesy of Sky TV.

"Real big scrum, a real big set piece and a lot of character in their No9 and No10 [Trent Reti and Kalim Kelemete]," he said.

Goalkicking second-five James So'ailo is a heavy points scorer while in winger Willie Paia'aua they have a quality finisher.

"We know what their strengths are and we're a little bit polar opposites there," said Hamlin.

"It's just a matter of who is better at their style.

"If we can get the ball, maintain possession, then move them around a bit, then it sits more in our favour a bit."

Kickoff in Levin is 2.30pm.

The possible Wanganui team is

1. Hamish Mellow; 2. Roman Tutauha (c); 3. Viki Tofa; 4. Sam Madams; 5. Sokonaia Kalou; 6. Tremaine Gilbert; 7. Angus Middleton; 8. Bryn Hudson; 9. Lindsay Horrocks; 10. Cody Hemi; 11. Cameron Crowley/Samu Kubunavanua; 12. Timoci Seruwalu/Craig Clare; 13. Craig Clare/Kaveni Dabenaise; 14. Jona Sawailau; 15. Nick Harding.
Reserves - Forwards: 16. Cole Baldwin; 17. Kamipeli Latu; 18. Josh Lane/Campbell Hart; 19. Jamie Hughes. Backs: 20. Tom Stewart; 21. Kaveni Dabenaise/Simon Dibben; 22. TBC