16 Aug 2011

Francis to start for Auckland

5:54 am on 16 August 2011

The England-born first-five Piers Francis will make his first start for Auckland in tonight's ITM Cup round eight match against Tasman in Nelson.

The 21-year-old has made five appearances from the bench this season, but his game time's been limited with the New zealand Under 20 star Gareth Anscombe starting regularly.

Head coach Mark Anscombe says Gareth Anscombe's had a big workload and

Francis is relishing the challenge.

He's one of of five changes to the starting XV that beat Counties Manukau 25-22 last week.

The last time Auckland played Tasman in Nelson in 2009 they lost 12-9 and Anscombe says swhile that's a memory they're keen to dispel the main focus is reaching the finals as there are only three games remaining.