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Niko Jones named for first Auckland appearance while Blues star Taniela Tele'a set for first game back from injury

By Online Editors
Tanielu Tele'a. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Auckland travel to Inglewood for their Round 5 clash with Championship team Taranaki this Saturday afternoon.


Head Coach, Alama Ieremia has made various changes to the 23 travelling to New Plymouth. The Blue and White Hoops will be on the road for the second week in a row after their 20-16 victory over Bay of Plenty in Rotorua. Ieremia has taken some lessons from his team’s implementation on the field last Friday.

“This week we have another away fixture that will test us. At times last week we played some good rugby, but we know we could’ve executed a lot better in other areas” said Ieremia.

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The Aotearoa Rugby Pod with Blues hooker James Parsons and Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall discuss everything All Blacks as they head into the first Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies.

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The Aotearoa Rugby Pod with Blues hooker James Parsons and Crusaders halfback Bryn Hall discuss everything All Blacks as they head into the first Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies.

Two Auckland Rugby Academy graduates will be given their chance off the bench this Saturday in Taranaki. Ponsonby Hooker, Soane Vikena and Waitemata Loose Forward, Niko Jones will be in line for their Auckland debut for Saturday’s fixture.

Harry Plumer will move into the first-five position while Simon Hickey will be hoping to inject some energy from the bench later in the game.

Marist Utility Back, Taniela Tele’a will make his first appearance of the season for the Blue and White’s in the 23 jersey. Salesi Rayasi has been named on the left wing after scoring both of Auckland’s trys in their victory over The Steamers.

Head Coach, Alama Ieremia will be looking for a full 80-minute performance and is aware of what Taranaki can bring to the table.


“We are facing an injured Bulls team who will be hurting from last week and we all know what happens when you deal with an angry Bull. The team is excited about the challenge and it’s an opportunity for some players to express their skills – we need to be better than last week.”

Kickoff is at 2:05pm on Saturday from TET Stadium, Taranaki.

Auckland: Jordan Traino, AJ Lam, Tumua Manu, TJ Faiane (c), Salesi Rayasi, Harry Plummer, Taufa Funaki, Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, Blake Gibson, Adrian Choat, Jack Whetton, Scott Scrafton, Marcel Renata, Leni Apisai, James Lay. Reserves: Soane Vikena, Jarred Adams, Marco Fepulea’i, Hamish Dalzell, Niko Jones, Jonathan Ruru, Simon Hickey, Tanielu Tele’a.

– Auckland Rugby


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finn 3 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

11 Go to comments
Simon 6 hours ago
Is the Six Nations balance of power shifting?

There are a few issues with the article. Despite somehow getting to a RWC semi final, England are nowhere near Probable status and should be swapped with Scotland on current form. France’s failure at RWC 23 has massively hit their mindset. Psychologically, they need a reset of gigantic proportions otherwise they will revert to, Top 14 first, international rugby an afterthought again. Ireland are allowed to play the way they are by less than acceptable officiating. Make no bones about it, with Easterby coaching, Ireland cheat, they break the rules at almost every facet of the game and generally referees, influenced by the media that Ireland are somehow playing the best rugby in the world, allow them. Scrums - Porter never pushes straight and immediately turns in. The flankers lose their binds and almost latch on to the opposition props. Rucks - they always and I mean always clear out from the side and take players out beyond the ball, effectively taking them out of being ready for the next phase. Not once do green shirts enter rucks from the rear foot. Referees should be made to look at the video of the game against Wales and see that Irish backs and forwards happily enter rucks from the side to effect a clearout, thus giving them the sub 3 second ruck speed everybody dreams about. They also stand in offside positions at rucks to ‘block’ opposing players from making clear tackles allowing the ball carrier to break the gainline almost every time. They then turn and are always ahead of play and therefore enter subsequent rucks illegally. Mauls - there is always a blocker between the ball catcher and the opposition. It is subtle but it is there. Gatland still needs to break the shackles and allow his team a bit more freedom to play rugby. He no longer has a team of 16 stone plus players who batter the gainline. He has to adapt and be more thoughtful in attack. Scotland are playing well but they have the creaky defence that leaks tries.

23 Go to comments
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