PIC Steelers roll out new-look team for Taranaki

PIC Steelers roll out new-look team for Taranaki

First-five Riley Hohepa has been named as captain of the PIC Steelers for the first time in his career as he leads a new-look side to play Taranaki in New Plymouth on Wednesday night.

Coach Reon Graham has used the depth in his squad as he battles injury and a brutal storm week schedule that sees the PIC Steelers back up Saturday’s narrow loss to Canterbury at Navigation Homes Stadium with road trips to New Plymouth and Invercargill this week.

Hohepa, who has taken over as on-field captain in a couple of games this season, and in-form halfback Cameron Roigard are retained in the inside backs, but it is a completely new-look forward pack that will take on Taranaki.

Graham has gone with one of the youngest front rows in the Union’s history with two first-season players starting in Kauvaka Kaivelata and Penisoni Fineanganofo alongside Suetena Asomua.

Alex McRobbie moves to lock alongside veteran Ardmore Marist second rower Viliame Rarasea while Jadin Kingi, Adam Brash and Setefano Leavasa comprise the back row.

Amanaki Savieti starts at second-five alongside Karaka clubmate Nikolai Foliaki while Peniasi Malimali and Tevita Ofa are retained on the wings.

Pukekohe fullback Jarrod Halliday starts his first game of the season at fullback.

The bench sees Samuel Slade, Sam Tuifua, AJ Alatimu and Ahsee Tuala all move from starting side to provide impact while Mark Royal returns to the match day squad.

The game kicks off at 7.05pm with PIC Steelers fans encouraged to come down to Navigation Homes Stadium to watch on the big screen.

PIC Steelers v Taranaki: 1. Kauvaka Kaivelata, 2. Penisoni Fineanganofo, 3. Suetena Asomua, 4. Alex McRobbie, 5. Viliame Rarasea, 6. Jadin Kingi, 7. Adam Brash, 8. Setefano Leavasa, 9. Cameron Roigard, 10. Riley Hohepa (capt), 11. Peniasi Malimali, 12. Amanaki Savieti, 13. Nikolai Foliaki, 14. Tevita Ofa, 15. Jarrod Halliday. Reserves: 16. Ioane Moananu, 17. Mark Royal, 18. Lionel Evans, 19. Samuel Slade, 20. Sam Tuifua, 21. Jonathan Taumateine, 22. AJ Alatimu, 23. Ahsee Tuala.