NSW CUP PREVIEW: Wests Tigers v Vulcans

Back rower Sebastine Ikahihifo features in an all-Vodafone Warriors starting forward pack for today's New South Wales Cup match against Wests Tigers in Sydney. Photo: Photosport.


Not all Vodafone Warriors players have had time off this week with 13 of the clubs players preparing to turn out for the Auckland Vulcans as they seek a fifth straight victory in the New South Wales Cup today.


Vodafone Warriors players make up the entire starting pack to face Wests Tigers at Campbelltown Sports Stadium (3.00pm kick-off local time; 5.00pm NZT) while five of the backs are from the clubs NRL squad and hooker Siliva Havili and Vodafone Junior Warriors utility back David Fusitua are on the bench.


Today's match will screen live on SKY Sport 2 at 5.00pm NZT and on Fox Sports in Australia at 3.00pm AEST.


Last Saturday the Vulcans won their fourth game on end beating fourth-placed Windsor to continue their surge up the table. A month ago they had drifted outside the top eight but by beating Newcastle 28-24, Illawarra 36-10, Manly 38-10 and Windsor 20-14 in the last four weeks theyve firmed to sixth spot.


The team flew out on Friday for Saturdays battle against a Tigers side ranked just a spot below them in seventh place on the points table.

The starting pack comprises Charlie Gubb, Alehana Mara, Suaia Matagi, John Palavi, Sam Lousi and Sebastine Ikahihifo. While Gubb, Mara, Matagi, Palavi and Ikahihifo have featured regularly, the big man Lousi will be having only his third game of the year. Despite a long lay-off he has impressed in his two outings so far.


Vodafone Warriors Pita Godinet and Carlos Tuimavave team up in the halves with Jerome Ropati and Sio Siua Taukeiaho in the second row and Bill Tupou on the wing.


The Vulcans latest win against the highly-ranked Windsor Wolves was a hard-fought affair.


Tangi Ropati scored early for the Vulcans before Windsor responded to lead just 6-4 at halftime.


The Vulcans struck twice early in the second spell, Ropati providing a nice inside ball for fullback Steve Waetford to score and minutes later Nathaniel Peteru surged across, Godinets conversion taking his side into a 14-6 lead.

But two Windsor tries, both unconverted, had the sides locked up at 14-14 before the Vulcans closed the game out in the last 10 minutes with a Godinet penalty and a Tuimavave try.


Match details:


At Windsor Sporting Complex, Sydney

At Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland

Windsor Wolves 14 (Daniel Foster, Bryce Cartwright, Geoff Daniela tries; Luke Capewell conversion).

Auckland Vulcans 20 (Tangi Ropati, Steve Waetford Nathaniel Peteru, Carlos Tuimavave tries; Pita Godinet conversion, penalty).

Halftime: 6-4 Wolves.

Referee: Adam Cassidy.


Vulcans: Steve Waetford; Bill Tupou, Jerome Ropati, Sio Siua Taukeiaho, Tangi Ropati; Carlos Tuimavave, Pita Godinet; Suaia Matagi, Alehana Mara, Daniel Palavi; John Palavi, Sam Lousi; Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Nathaniel Peteru, Murray Iti, Siliva Havili, Herman Retzlaff.


AUCKLAND VULCANS v WESTS TIGERS


Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney

3.00pm, Saturday, June 22

Referee: Liam Nicholls


AUCKLAND VULCANS


1STEVE WAETFORD

2BILL TUPOU

3SIO SIUA TAUKEIAHO

4JEROME ROPATI

5TANGI ROPATI

6CARLOS TUIMAVAVE

7PITA GODINET

8CHARLIE GUBB

9ALEHANA MARA

10SEBSATINE IKAHIHIFO

11JOHN PALAVI

12SAM LOUSI

13SUAIA MATAGI

Interchange:

14SILIVA HAVILI

15DANIEL PALAVI

16AGNATIUS PAASI

17NATHANIEL PETERU

21DAVID FUSITUA


HEAD COACH: WILLIE SWANN