2023 Counties Energy Heat Squad Named

2023 Counties Energy Heat Squad Named

A total of seven Black Ferns representatives and 13 players with Super Rugby experience have been confirmed in the 2023 Counties Energy Heat squad for the upcoming Farah Palmer Cup presented by Bunnings Warehouse.

Black Ferns hooker Grace Gago, utility back Mererangi Paul, halfback Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, first-five Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali, winger Langi Veainu, winger Ruby Tui and first-five/fullback Hazel Tubic will form the nucleus of the side.

The side will be co-captained by 50-game veteran Marino-Tauhinu and first year Black Fern Gago.

Two new players, yet to play at FPC level, have been picked in the squad -hooker Mau Gautasa and midfielder Alana Grace.

Three development-age athletes have also been selected in the squad with McCauley High School prop Joy Vaaga (17), Rosehill College outside back Esther Amataga (17) and Manurewa utility back Nasareta Seumanutafa (18) all given opportunities.

"We have a well-balanced group of experienced campaigners and some up and coming talent that we have been able to select for 2023," said campaign manager Peter Shaw. "Really happy with the spine of the squad, who possess plenty of international and Super Rugby experience. There is a lot of energy in this group and they're going to have to be competitive with each other to earn their places in the starting XV this year.

"In line with our pathways strategy, we've invested into the future by including three development age players to join the squad in a full time capacity. Joy and Esther are current secondary school students and Nasareta is in her first year with the Academy - this will be a huge opportunity for each of them to experience the training environment of FPC and develop further under our coaches and senior players.

"On behalf of the Counties Energy Heat I congratulate all players who have earned selection and welcome you into the camp."

The Counties Energy Heat begin their campaign with pre-season fixtures against Auckland on Sunday July 2 at Auckland University Rugby Club, a camp from Friday July 7-9, including a game of three halves with Bay of Plenty and Waikato at Rotorua and a final game against Manawatu in Taupo of Friday July 14.

The Farah Palmer Cup begins with a home game against Bay of Plenty at Navigation Homes Stadium on Saturday July 22.

2023 Counties Energy Heat Squad

Esther Amataga (Manurewa), Utu Atonio (Pukekohe), Toru Arukua (Manurewa/Chiefs Manawa), Stacey Brown (Papakura), Rebecca Burch (Pukekohe), Kat Enosa-Taifau (Pukekohe), Joanna Fanene-Lolo (Auckland Marist/Blues), Waikohika Flesher (Manurewa), Mau Gautasa (Auckland Marist), Grace Gago - co-capt (Manurewa/Blues), Alana Grace (Manurewa), Emily Kitson (Pukekohe), Jaymie Kolose (Pukekohe/Blues), Lulu Leuta (Manurewa), Ana Mamea (Manurewa), Margaret Manase (Pukekohe), Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu - co-capt (Manurewa/Chiefs Manawa), Paris Mataroa (Manurewa), Mererangi Paul (Pukekohe/Chiefs Manawa), Lana Samuelu (Auckland Marist), Nasareta Seumanatafa (Manurewa), Lauryn Steed (Pukekohe), Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali (Pukekohe/Hurricanes Poua), Ti Tauasosi (Auckland Marist), Harono Te Iringa (Manurewa/ Chiefs Manawa), Vineta Teutau (Auckland Marist/Blues), Shyanne Thompson (Pukekohe/Blues), Shonte To'a (Pukekohe/Brumbies), Hazel Tubic (Manurewa/Chiefs Manawa), Ruby Tui (Pukekohe/Chiefs Manawa), Joy Vaaga (Manurewa), Leititia Vaka (Manurewa), Langi Veainu (Pukekohe), Azania Watene (Pukekohe).

Management: Saua Leaupepetele (Head Coach), Peter Shaw (Campaign Manager), Davida Suasua (Assistant Coach), Sione Sione (Assistant Coach), Letticia Jones (Manager), Megan Signal (Strength & Conditioning), Lucia Young (Physio), Hanna Spence (Assistant Physio), Renee Pama (IMG Manager), Kylie Sousa (PDM Manager), Hayden Christie (Nutritionist).