‘The more time you have the better prepared you’ll be’

Hurricanes Training - Grainger Heikell, Dwayne Russell

A LOT of coaches delay naming their teams until the last minute, not wanting to let the opposition gain an edge.

Poverty Bay’s Mana Otai and Dwayne Russell have adopted a different approach in this season’s Heartland Championship

Otai and Russell, more often than not, tell the players before Tuesday night’s training sesson who will start and who will be on the bench.

And with a sudden-death Lochore Cup semifinal against Mid Canterbury in Ashburton on Saturday, the duo have kept to that approach. They announced the match-day 22 last night.

“‘We believe it’s better for all the players in the squad to know the starting line-up and reserves four days out from the game,” Russell said.

“It gives the players peace of mind and four days to prepare,” Russell said.

“The more time you have to prepare, the better preared you’ll be.

“It’s also a win-win situation for us.

“We want those in the reserves to push the starters, and the others in the squad to push the reserves.

“Who knows what can happen between Tuesday and Saturday, with players getting injured or whatever.

“We want everyone prepared to start, and I have to say that’s been the case this season. All the boys are supportive of each other.

“Obvously the players who miss out are disappointed but they all know they have a part to play, whether it’s starting, coming off the bench or being involved with the squad, keeping everyone honest.

“With so much technology these days and all teams having access to video of all the games, it’s not hard for teams to find information about who they are playing against.

“Another reason we name the team early is that sometimes we have to travel on Friday, and if we left naming the team until Thursday night, the next day is spent travelling to the game and then holding a training run.

“That cuts into the management team’s planning time.”

Hooker Isaiah Leach has not recovered from the head knock that ruled him out of the Thames Valley game, so Tamanui Hill will again be hooker.

Russell said Semisi Akana, who played 80 minutes against Thames Valley, retains the No.3 jersey.

With the Bay expecting a torrid battle up front, lock Jacob Cook and midfield back Tawhao Stewart have been brought back into the reserves, in a four-three forwards-backs split.

“Mid Canterbury’s strength is in their pack,” Russell said.

“They are big, strong and well organised, especially at set pieces.

“We also know they will be hurting after missing out on the Meads Cup (top four) and will want to finish their season on a high by winning the Lochore Cup.”

Team

POVERTY BAY (1-22): Sione Ngatu, Tamanui Hill, Semisis Akana, Leslie Hills, Everard Reid, Fawn White, James Grogan, Siosiua Moala, Mario Counsell, Kelvin Smith, Brody Lam, Anthony Karauria, Andrew Tauatevalu, Karl Macpherson, Ethine Reeves. Reserves: Juston Allen, Sandy Hohipa-Campbell, Jacob Cook, Mekepio Brown, Willy Grogan, Jake Holmes, Tawhao Stewart.

A LOT of coaches delay naming their teams until the last minute, not wanting to let the opposition gain an edge.

Poverty Bay’s Mana Otai and Dwayne Russell have adopted a different approach in this season’s Heartland Championship

Otai and Russell, more often than not, tell the players before Tuesday night’s training sesson who will start and who will be on the bench.

And with a sudden-death Lochore Cup semifinal against Mid Canterbury in Ashburton on Saturday, the duo have kept to that approach. They announced the match-day 22 last night.

“‘We believe it’s better for all the players in the squad to know the starting line-up and reserves four days out from the game,” Russell said.

“It gives the players peace of mind and four days to prepare,” Russell said.

“The more time you have to prepare, the better preared you’ll be.

“It’s also a win-win situation for us.

“We want those in the reserves to push the starters, and the others in the squad to push the reserves.

“Who knows what can happen between Tuesday and Saturday, with players getting injured or whatever.

“We want everyone prepared to start, and I have to say that’s been the case this season. All the boys are supportive of each other.

“Obvously the players who miss out are disappointed but they all know they have a part to play, whether it’s starting, coming off the bench or being involved with the squad, keeping everyone honest.

“With so much technology these days and all teams having access to video of all the games, it’s not hard for teams to find information about who they are playing against.

“Another reason we name the team early is that sometimes we have to travel on Friday, and if we left naming the team until Thursday night, the next day is spent travelling to the game and then holding a training run.

“That cuts into the management team’s planning time.”

Hooker Isaiah Leach has not recovered from the head knock that ruled him out of the Thames Valley game, so Tamanui Hill will again be hooker.

Russell said Semisi Akana, who played 80 minutes against Thames Valley, retains the No.3 jersey.

With the Bay expecting a torrid battle up front, lock Jacob Cook and midfield back Tawhao Stewart have been brought back into the reserves, in a four-three forwards-backs split.

“Mid Canterbury’s strength is in their pack,” Russell said.

“They are big, strong and well organised, especially at set pieces.

“We also know they will be hurting after missing out on the Meads Cup (top four) and will want to finish their season on a high by winning the Lochore Cup.”

Team

POVERTY BAY (1-22): Sione Ngatu, Tamanui Hill, Semisis Akana, Leslie Hills, Everard Reid, Fawn White, James Grogan, Siosiua Moala, Mario Counsell, Kelvin Smith, Brody Lam, Anthony Karauria, Andrew Tauatevalu, Karl Macpherson, Ethine Reeves. Reserves: Juston Allen, Sandy Hohipa-Campbell, Jacob Cook, Mekepio Brown, Willy Grogan, Jake Holmes, Tawhao Stewart.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.