Sunday’s clash between the Asia Pacific Dragons and South China Tigers will be anything but a carbon copy of their encounter just a week ago with both sides swinging the changes.
While the Dragons were on the wrong end of the result in Hong Kong last Sunday, they finished the game full of running and had their chances to pinch the result in an action packed final five minutes.
Playing for the first time on home soil in Singapore, Head Coach Ryan Martin hasn’t been afraid to mix things up with five fresh faces coming into the starting XV, while shuffling the deck in the back line with a number of key positional moves.
After starting at flyhalf in the opening two games Kali Hala will wear the 15 jersey which has been vacated by the move of Fijian international Asaeli Tikoirotuma into the centres. Rounding out the trio of moves is young Tongan star Latiume Fosita who’ll start at 10.
In other back line moves, Junior Lalofifi will have his chance to shine from the opening whistle after an appearance last week from the bench, as too will South African born scrumhalf Rowan Gouws.
The forwards have also been reshaped with front row pair, prop Haamea Ahio and hooker Sekonaia Pole, joining blindside flanker Michael McKee.
After torrential rain in Hong Kong turned Aberdeen Sports Ground into a heavy track last week, the South China Tigers have freshened up their squad too, bringing three new faces into the run-on side.
Hooker Dayne Jans, number 8 Josh Hrstich and wing Conor Hartley are the new names for the Tigers. None of them featured in the game last week and will be keen to make their presence felt. The Tigers thou have lost some firepower with star back Tom Varndell not making the trip to Singapore.
Where: Queenstown Sports Centre
Date: Sunday, 28 April 2019
Kick-off: 15:10 local
Starting XV: 1.Haamea AHIO, 2.Sekonaia POLE, 3.Ropate RINAKAMA, 4.Louis Johannes CONRADIE, 5.Joketani KOROI, 6.Michael MCKEE, 7.Fotu LOKOTUI, 8.Nili LATU, 9.Rowan GOUWS, 10.Latiume FOSITA, 11.Mitchell SCOTT, 12.Stacey ILI(c), 13.Asaeli TIKOIROTUMA, 14.Junior LALOIFI, 15.Kali HALA
Reserves: 16.Michael LEA, 17.Taniela KOROI, 18.Latu TALAKAI, 19.Naulia DAWAI, 20.Irwin FINAU, 21.Kurt HAMMER 22.Sireli BOBO, 23.Zac HARRISON JONES
Starting XV: 1.Benjamin HIGGINS, 2.Dayne JANS, 3.Tau KOLOMATANGI, 4.Fin FIELD, 5.Craig LODGE, 6.James SAWYER, 7.Josh DOWSING, 8.Josh HRSTICH, 9.Liam SLATEM(c), 10.Glyn HUGHES, 11.Samisoni NASAGAVESI, 12.Matthew ROSSLEE, 13.Lewis WARNER, 14.Conor HARTLEY, 15.Nathan DE THIERRY
Reserves: 16.Alexander POST, 17.Adam FULLGRABE, 18.Faizal SOLOMONA PENESA, 19.Kyle SULLIVAN, 20.Luke VAN DER SMIT, 21.Bryn PHILLIPS, 22.Ben AXTEN-BURRETT, 23..Jack NEVILLE
Referee: Richard KELLY, AR1: Matthew RODDEN, AR2: Charlie BROWN, TMO: Aaron LITTLEWOOD