Meads Cup Final Preview: Horowhenua Kapiti v Wanganui

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Thursday, October 26, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Horowhenua Kapiti v Wanganui, Levin Domain, Saturday, 2.35pm (Meads Cup)
It will be the second time the sides have met in a final, the previous occasion was in 1993 when Horowhenua Kapiti travelled north to Wanganui and claimed the most famous win in their history. A certain first five-eighths Carlos Spencer ushered himself onto the national stage during that campaign and played a key role in the final when it was still a national provincial championship division three game. And for Wanganui Kelvin Chase landed two dropped goals, the only time that has been done in a final. Since the change in format the Meads Cup has been the hardest trophy to win away from home. It is anticipated the ground record of 6500, for a Hurricanes v Crusaders pre-season game in 2014, at the Levin Domain may get a nudge

Horowhenua Kapiti have never won the Meads Cup but apart from their 1993 victory, they have appeared in four other finals, the most recent being in the Lochore Cup in 2008. And they have never hosted a final since the game went professional. Before that they had hosted Nelson Bays in 1992. They missed out on hosting the 1993 event because they had hosted Wanganui in their pool game that year when they also won 15-8. Central to Horowhenua Kapiti's success has been first five-eighths James So'oialo's goal-kicking boot. He's dominated scoring for the side with 111 points, including three tries.

If any team could claim to have dominated the Heartland Championship it is Wanganui. Since 2006 they have not missed the playoffs. It will be their 10th appearance in a Meads Cup final. They played in the first seven finals, winning three and losing four, and they have won the last two titles in 2015 and 2016. They missed qualifying for the final in 2013 and 2014, but in the latter they won the Lochore Cup when beating North Otago. Craig Clare has scored 108 points for Wanganui, also including three tries. Timoci Seruwalu leads the try scorers with eight for the side while Jona Sawailau has scored five.


Horowhenua Kapiti: 1.Robin Praat, 2.Nathan Kendrick, 3.Scott Cameron, 4.Ryan Shelford, 5.William Lander, 6.Aaron Lahmert, 7.Spencer Bishop, 8.Tyson Maki, 9.Trent Reti, 10.James So'oialo, 11.Robert Millar, 12.Kalim Kelemete, 13.Ethan Pollock, 14.Dylan Taylor, 15.Andrew McDougall.

Substitutes: 16.David McErlean, 17.Tiwana Thompson-Patingatai, 18.Hone Taiapa, 19.Louie Tovo, 20.Kane Tamou, 21.Luke McMahon, 22.Ethan Wade.

Wanganui: 1.Viki Tofa, 2.Cole Baldwin, 3.Hamish Mellow, 4.Sam Madams, 5.Campbell Hart, 6.Tremaine Gilbert, 7.Jamie Hughes, 8.Bryn Hudson, 9.Lindsay Horrocks, 10.Dane Whale, 11.Cameron Crowley, 12.Craig Clare, 13.Kaveni Dabenaise, 14.Simon Dibben, 15.Nick Harding.

Substitutes: 16.Roman Tutauha, 17.Kamipeli Latu, 18.Cade Robinson, 19.Angus Middleton, 20.Tom Stewart, 21.Ethan Robinson, 22.Samu Kubunavanua.