Seven players from Counties Manukau have been named in a 35-strong Chiefs U20s squad for the 2023 National U20’s Tournament and pre-season events.
Prop Keran van Staden (Pukekohe), hooker Nicholas Muli (Karaka), lock/loose forward Taeao Pomale-Time (Karaka), halfback Kana Helu (Pukekohe), halfback Cohen Brady-Leathem (Patumahoe), first-five Josh Penney (Karaka) and winger Esau Filimoehala (Karaka) have all earned selection after impressing at a recent trial in Cambridge.
The squad of 35 will play against the Chiefs Development XV in Cambridge today (February 24), against the Hurricanes U20s in Taupo on March 4 and against the Blues U20s in Hamilton on March 10 before the squad is trimmed to 27 for the National tournament on March 19-25.
“It is very pleasing to see so many of our up-and-coming players being recognised and selected for this team, particularly on the back of six Counties Manukau players making the final Chief’s U20 squad last year. This bodes well for the Steelers considering the recent conversion rate from Chief’s U20’s to Steelers” said Counties Manukau Rugby Academy Manager Richie Harris.
“There has been a lot of work go into our academy over the past couple of years from former Academy boss Chad Shepherd and Pete Shaw (Strength and Conditioning). It’s very exciting to see it paying off.
“The ongoing investment into the academy from Gary Millington, Rod Ketels, Michael Scott, Dean Littin and Chris Nicholson has had a massive impact as well.
“On behalf of the Union, I wish these players the best for the coming weeks.”
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