Match details: Auckland v Tasman, 6.35pm, Saturday 28 November, Eden Park (FREE ENTRY)
Won: Auckland 7, Tasman 6, Drawn 1
Referee: Nick Briant
A bumper crowd is expected at Eden Park with free entry for fans to the final. Auckland also opened the gates for their last title victory in 2018. It was an all-time classic with Auckland taking out arch-rivals Canterbury following 20 minutes of extra-time, sparking incredible scenes at Eden Park.
YOUNG BUCKS COLLIDE
One of the most mouth-watering clashes of the season comes out wide where Auckland flyer Salesi Rayasi squares off with Mako powerhouse Leicester Fainga’anuku in the 11 jersey. Rayasi has turned heads with an incredible 14 tries from just eight appearances in 2020 while Fainga’anuku has been a handful for all comers with a competition leading 890 run metres across the season. These two young players can create something out of nothing and the plan must be to give them as much time with ball in hand as possible.
Auckland will have the psychological edge over Tasman after dispatching the reigning champions 31-10 at Eden Park back in round six. It was a clinical victory built on the back of a powerful forward display and finished off by a rampant back division. There’s no doubt that Tasman would have spent plenty of time pouring over the tape to work out how to quell Auckland’s attacking threats out wide and combative style upfront.
Tasman will be aiming to become just the second team in Mitre 10 Cup history to win back-to-back finals (Canterbury in 2008-2013 and 2015-2017, respectively); the Mako defeated Wellington (31-14) in the corresponding match last year, keeping the Lions scoreless in the second-half on the day.
1. James Lay 2. Leni Apisai 3. Angus Ta’avao (C) 4. Scott Scrafton 5. Jack Whetton 6. Adrian Choat 7. Niko Jones 8. Sione Tuipulotu 9. Jonathan Ruru 10. Harry Plummer 11. Salesi Rayasi 12. Tanielu Tele’a 13. Tumua Manu 14. AJ Lam 15. Zarn Sullivan
Reserves: Mike Sosene-Feagai, Jarred Adams, Marcel Renata, Hamish Dalzell, Presley Tufuga, Taufa Funaki, Simon Hickey, Jordan Trainor
1: Isi Tu’ungafasi 2: Quentin MacDonald 3: Samuel Matenga, 4: Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta 5: Quinten Strange 6: Hugh Renton 7: Sione Havili 8: Taina Fox-Matamua 9: Finlay Christie 10: Mitchell Hunt 11: Leicester Fainga’anuku 12: Timothy O’Malley 13: Fetuli Paea 14: Mark Telea 15: David Havili (C)
Reserves: Samiuela Moli, Ryan Coxon, Isaac Salmon, Isaac Ross, Anton Segner, Dwayne Polataivao, Kieron Fonotia, Lotima Fainga’anuku