Winiata out for Cyclones' must-win against Hawke's Bay
Black Ferns star Selica Winiata is a late withdrawal at fullback for the Cyclones in their must win match against Hawke's Bay in Palmerston North on Saturday.
Winiata has not featured in the team since their win over Bay of Plenty three weeks ago when she was concussed in a tackle.
She trained with the team this week and was intially named in the squad, but was withdrawn on Friday.
But another member of the squad has been handed a reprieve with Ruci Malanicagi, who initially looked to be out for the season with concussion, cleared to take a spot on the bench.
Her absence is a blow to the side with them needing to beat Hawke's Bay to ensure they qualify for the Farah Palmer Cup semifinals for the first time, otherwise they will be sweating on other results.
If they miss the semifinals, there is the daunting prospect of facing Auckland in a playoff to decide which team will get relegated to the to championship in 2019.
While Hawke's Bay have been flying high in the Championship, this weekend provides a prime opportunity for the team to prove the gap between the Championship and Premiership is decent.
The Cyclones have named a settled forward pack for the match with co-captain Nicole Dickins to run out in her 49th match.
Coach Fusi Feaunati has rewarded young wing Nicola Chase for her form off the bench the last two weeks with a start.
Sydnee Wilkins will slide to fullback to cover Winiata and Lauren Balsillie joins Chase on the wing.
Cyclones: 15 Sydnee Wilkins, 14 Lauren Balsillie, 13 Vaine Greig, 12 Ruby Finau, 11 Nicola Chase, 10 Corrineke Windle, 9 Kristina Sue, 8 Nicole Dickins, 7 Sam Tipene, 6 Shanna Porima, 5 Jessica Fagan-Pease, 4 Mahalia Polson, 3 Kahli Tipene, 2 Jayme Nuku, 1 Marilyn Live. Reserves: 16 Sequita Hemmingway, 17 Abbey Rivers, 18 Rachael Rakatau, 19 Samantha Olsen, 20 Lucy Brown, 21 Maggie Leota, 22 Ruci Malanicagi