• Hastings pair return from international duty for semifinal

Hastings pair return from international duty for semifinal

Three days after international duty Jardine Chung Ching and Gideon Kautai will turn out for Hastings Rugby and Sports in Hawke's Bay's Maddison Trophy semifinals tomorrow.

Blindside flanker Chung Ching (pictured above right) and centre Kautai (pictured above left) both had 70 minutes for the Cook Islands during a 31-24 loss to Tasman in Nelson on Wednesday. Both will start for defending champions Hastings Rugby and Sports when they take on Clive Rugby and Sports at Elwood Park.

Kautai will be on the blindside and Kautai on the wing. Chung Ching said both he and Kautai will miss the Cook Islands July 17 match against the New Zealand under-20s in Papakura should Hastings qualify for the final and return to the Cook Islands team for the July 24 match against the loser of tomorrow's international between Samoa and Tonga in Auckland.

This encounter is part of the qualification process for the 2023 World Cup.

"We've got a big Cook Islands squad and a lot us are involved in club semifinals and finals and our coaching staff is very accommodating," Chung Ching explained.

The pair are in their first season in the Cook Islands team and building apprentice Kautai celebrated his 21st birthday on Wednesday.

"I'm sure we will be able to celebrate it properly with a couple of orange juices on Saturday night," Chung Ching quipped.

"We're pretty keen to go back to back. But we have to focus on this weekend's game first. I back our boys ... we have to out work them and trust our processes," 26-year-old EIT Sports Health and Science student Chung Ching said. 

Hurricane Danny Toala will start at centre for Hastings. If he can inspire the hosts to play to their potential they are capable of a nine-point win.

Clive Rugby and Sports will miss the services of Magpies utility back Tiaan Falcon with an injured shoulder and Magpies winger Anzelo Tuitavuki who has concussion.

Clive coach Sam Giddens has named Maori All Blacks lock Isaia Walker-Leawere and winger Jonah Lowe on the subs bench. One would have thought his team would have a better chance of an upset if he had started the pair.

Teams for the 3pm semifinal:
Hastings Rugby and Sports: Jayden Rihia, Gideon Kautai, Danny Toala, Ausage Fomai, Saifiti Saifiti, Jordan Thompson-Dunn, Connor McLeod, Jacob Devery, Fale Matamata, Jardine Chung Ching, Jessie Lesa-Sipaia, Emil Crichton , Dennis Tapusoa, Miracle Lolofie, Angus McGuire. Substitutes: Matt Wilson, Eugene Sandilands, Joe Taafi, Ioane Ioane, Xavier Hill, Andrew Hayward, Danya Tulou.

Clive Rugby and Sports: Lolagi Visinia, Josh Greening, Nick Biss, Jayden Falcon, Antony Wilson, Tianua Poto, Trent Hape,  Joe Fuimaono, Josh Kaifa, Karetai Williams, Jay Tuivaiti, Donovan Mataira, Petera Kahui-Ariki, Jacob Dorward, Zac Southwick. Substitutes: Forwards, Nick Agnew, Alfred Tuliaupupu, Izaia Walker-Leawere, Trent Robinson. Backs, Te Kahika Thompson, Jonah Lowe, Sebastion Visinia.