Counties Manukau PIC Steelers 2017 Squad Announced

 Counties Manukau PIC Steelers 2017 Squad Announced

An All Blacks match, neighbourhood rivalry and the possibility of a Ranfurly Shield challenge are all in the mix for the Counties Manukau PIC Steelers 2017 season with the Mitre 10 Cup squad officially announced today.

Coaches Darryl Suasua, Grant Henson and Semo Sititi have named their team with a blend of popular long-serving Steelers, new local talent, brothers, Super Rugby players and internationals.

The Counties Manukau squad features 23 players who have previously been part of the Steelers environment and seven new additions. Thirteen players have Super Rugby experience and 10 have earned international honours.

Young rookies to the PIC Steelers family include McNamara Cup winning halfback Liam Daniela from Bombay, Waiuku speedster winger Tevita Nabura and Pukekohe midfielder Salimoni Tukinia. At 20 years of age, Junior World Cup champion Orbyn ‘Go the Fro’ Leger, whose father Gus also played for the Steelers, is the youngest player in the team.

Also joining the side this year is Maori All Black Joe Royal who has spent part of the Super Rugby season training with the Blues, and Brumbies midfielder Nigel Ah Wong who scored the Brumbies only try against the Chiefs in their last New Zealand outing.

South Auckland born Samoan international Albert Nikoro formerly from the Western Force, has joined the Steelers for the first time, having been sidelines since receiving an eye injury against the All Blacks earlier in the year. All Blacks captain Kieran Read will be welcomed back home to ECOLight Stadium on Friday August 11 when Read’s two teams play each other in the Game of Three Halves.

Brothers Nepo and Luteru Laulala are expected to take the field together for the first time for the Steelers to add to the collection of brothers who have represented Counties Manukau.

The PIC Steelers will be again led by two born-and-bred Counties players. Augustine Pulu is the highest capped Steelers player in the squad and freshly back from a strong season for the Blues, joining with his Super Rugby teammate Jimmy Tupou, who welcomed a new son in late July. Tupou is on target to join a special group Steelers to have played 50 matches in the red, black and white jersey when the Steelers host Auckland in their opening Mitre 10 Cup game at ECOLight Stadium on Saturday night 19 August.

Steelers Head Coach Darryl Suasua said “It is great to have retained a core group of passionate Steelers while being able to blood-in new players. The Mitre 10 Cup is the springboard for many careers, so we are excited at the prospect of introducing our new players to this level of rugby while being surrounded by experienced players.”

It is expected that Toni Pulu and Sione Fifita, who both experienced long term injuries whilst on contract with the Chiefs and Crusaders respectively, will spend the Mitre 10 Cup season recovering. Due to Super Rugby commitments, some temporary extra players have been bought in as cover and will also be used as injury cover should the need arise.

It will be an exciting season for the PIC Steelers with the men in red, black and white starting with a fixture against the All Blacks and Taranaki in a Game of Three Halves at ECOLight Stadium on Friday 11 August at 6pm.

Tickets to the Game of Three Halves are on sale at the union office at ECOLight Stadium and from Prices start at $10 for adults, $7 for students with kids 13 and under free on the South Auckland Motors’ embankment. Prices for the grandstand are: adults $20, students $15, and kids 13 and under $10. The Game of Three Halves is included in CMRFU Season Memberships.

Corporate hospitality is available for all home fixtures including the Game of Three Halves via the union. Season Memberships are on sale from only $50 for a South Auckland Motors Embankment membership or $100 for a Grandstand Membership for an adult and $50 for a child. Once again kids 13 years and under are FREE on the South Auckland Motors Embankment to all Steelers round robin home games courtesy of Pak n Save Pukekohe. Memberships are available from CMRFU office and or Individual tickets to the match are available from CMRFU office, the gate on game day or For any enquiries phone 09 2370033.

2017 PIC Steelers Squad   
Nigel Ah WongBrumbiesMidfield0 caps*
Sean BagshawOnewheroProp32 caps
Liam DanielaBombayHalfback0 caps*
Sione FifitaPukekohewing18 caps **
Glen Fisi’iahiBombayWing0 caps
Sam HenwoodPukekoheLoose forward12 caps
Jonathan KawauBombayLoose forward6 caps
Baden KerrKarakaFirst Five-Eighth29 caps
Luteru LaulalaArdmore MaristFirst Five-eighth11 caps
Nepo LaulalaArdmore MaristProp0 caps
Orbyn LegerKarakaMidfield0 caps
Fotu LokotuiPatumahoeLoose forward1 caps
Pauliasi ManuKarakaProp25 caps
Matiaha MartinBombayLock11 caps
Tevita NaburaWaiukuWing0 caps*
Tim Nanai-WilliamsManurewaFullback56 caps
Albert NikoroWestern ForceUltility Back0 caps*
Augustine PuluKarakaHalfback66 caps
Toni PuluBombayWing44 caps **
Ronald RaaymakersWaiukuLoose forward51 caps
Viliame RaraseaArdmore MaristLock24 caps
Kieran ReadCrusadersLoose forward0 caps*
Joe RoyalPatumahoeHooker0 caps*
Salimoni TukiniaPukekoheMidfield0 caps*
Viliami TaulaniManurewaLoose forward4 caps
Suliasi TaufaleleArdmore MaristHooker35 caps
Kalolo TuilomaBombayProp11 caps
Jimmy TupouPautmahoeLoose forward49 caps
Jonathan TaumateineArdmore MaristHalfback4 caps
Matt VaaiManurewaLoose forward8 caps
Sonny Bill WilliamsPuniMidfield2 caps
Sam FurnissPatumahoeMidfield0 caps
Super Rugby Cover   
Riley HohepaPatumahoeFirst five-eighth 
Kalione HalaKarakaFullback 
George MakaPukekoheMidfield 
Gafatasi Su’aPukekoheHooker 
Corey Te Whata-ColleyBombayProp 
Sesimani TupouArdmore MaristProp 
Daymon LeasuasuArdmore MaristLock 
Romero TagiOnewheroProp 
* New Steelers** season ending injured 

Game of Three Halves –Friday 11 August at ECOLIGHT Stadium
Steelers v Taranaki 6pm
Taranaki v All Blacks 6.50pm
Steelers v All Blacks 7.40pm

Steelers 2017 Mitre 10 Cup Fixtures at ECOLight Stadium
Steelers v Auckland, Saturday 19 August 7.35pm
Steelers v North Harbour, Thursday 7 September 7.35pm
Steelers v Hawke’s Bay, Sunday 17 September 2.35pm
Steelers v Northland, Sunday 1 October 4.35pm
Steelers v Tasman, Saturday 14 October 7.35pm

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