© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2019

Canterbury vow not to take 'dangerous' Counties lightly

Zion Dayal
Rugby
Canterbury players training for their matchup against Counties Manukau. Zion Dayal

Canterbury are hot favourites to defend the Ranfurly Shield against first division cellar dwellers Counties Manukau tomorrow.


The red and blacks line up against the struggling Steelers, who've won just one game this season, at AMI Stadium at 7.35pm.

Canterbury have won four straight with their last against Southland, 78-20. 

Canterbury has made six changes to their lineup to defend their shield.

Forwards Oliver Jager, Tom Sanders and Billy Harmon were promoted to start and Reed Prinsep moved to the bench.

The only changes in the back-line were Rob Thompson and Poasa Waqanibau. 

Coach Glenn Delaney said Canterbury faced 11 days with three games scheduled. 

"We have had a massive couple of days as a coaching group whilst taking all the running load off the players."  

He said Canterbury had been working on improving its defence and lineout.

Halfback Mitchell Drummond said the players were taking one game at a time. 

"We love these weeks its the best time, you don't really train we just get to play which is what we love to do", Drummond said.

Despite Counties Manukau's lacklustre start, the squad does pose some threat including dangerous fullback Tim Nani-Williams and first five Stephen Donald.  

Delaney said Canterbury would watch the pair closely.  

"I've seen the threats that Counties pose, I watched them pretty close, they have got guys that can play in big games, and their season will have no bearing on the game tomorrow night."  

The last time these two sides met,  Canterbury won 22-7. 

''They have got some game breakers and big forwards,'' Delaney said. "It will be a physical battle, we are learning that these games, you can't give anyone a sniff in these [shield] game.''  

Canterbury Lineup:

1. Alex Hodgman
2. Nathan Vella
3. Oliver Jager
4. Mitchell Dunshea
5. Dominic Bird
6. Tom Sanders
7. Billy Harmon
8. Luke Whitelock (C)
9. Mitchell Drummond
10. Richie Mo’unga
11. Braydon Ennor
12. Rob Thompson
13. Tim Bateman (VC)
14. Poasa Waqanibau
15. George Bridge

RESERVES:
16. Nick Werahiko
17. Chris Gawler
18. Siate Tokolahi
19. Hamish Dalzell
20. Reed Prinsep
21. Ere Enari
22. Brett Cameron
23. Josh McKay

Canterbury vs Counties Manukau