A huge contingent of local club players have been named in PIC Steelers head coach Tai Lavea’s extended Mitre 10 Cup squad ahead of next month’s season opener against Tasman.
With the pre-season less than a week away, Lavea has unveiled 45 players in a squad brimming with local talent.
The roster is then expected to be cut back before his side’s pre-season match against Northland at Navigation Homes Stadium on Friday, August 26.
On the back of a strong season so far, Karaka’s star-studded roster has been rewarded with 11 players – including Sevens sensation Sione Molia and impressive first-five Baden Kerr - making the extended Steelers squad.
Table-toppers Ardmore Marist have also contributed plenty of talent to the mix with the likes of Latiume Fasita, Alamanda Motuga and Luteru Laulala all featuring.
“We’ve said we want local boys playing for the PIC Steelers this year and representing this proud community and fans will see the strong club presence in our roster,” Lavea said.
“Obviously not all of these guys have contracts for the 2020 season so there’s still an opportunity for them to impress in the first couple of weeks of pre-season training.
“It’s been a strange old year with COVID-19 but rep rugby is just around the corner now and the coaches and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Included in Lavea’s initial squad are All Blacks Nepo Laulala (Ardmore Marist) and Dalton Papalii (Patumahoe) along with other players boasting Super Rugby experience including Orbyn Leger, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Jonathan Taumateine, Kirisi Kuridrani, Conan O’Donnell and Ezekiel Lindenmuth.
“We’ve got a really nice mix of experience in the squad,” Lavea added.
“We’ve got guys who have played at the Super Rugby level and also a lot of talented club players who are ready to make the next step up.”
The Steelers begin their pre-season on Monday, August 10 and will take on Northland (Navigation Homes Stadium) and Bay of Plenty (Whakatane) in warm up matches before the Mitre 10 Cup kicks off on September 12.
website by 72DPI