9 Oct 2012

Changes for Auckland side as they look to book playoff spot

1:39 pm on 9 October 2012

The Auckland coach Wayne Pivac has made three changes to the starting XV for Thursday's crucial ITM Cup rugby match against Otago in Dunedin.

Andrew Van der Heijden returns to action to join Ali Williams in the locking department, while Nathan Hughes replaces Joe Edwards at number eight.

In the backs, Dave Thomas has overcome bronchitis which to resume duties on the left wing in place of Lolagi Visinia.

There is plenty on the line in in the match, with both sides striving to secure a home semi-final in their final game of the regular season.

Auckland are assured of a playoff berth in the top tier Premiership but will need to defeat Championship side Otago and then sweat on the result of the Wellington, Taranaki game on Friday night to secure a home semi-final.