Experience and plenty of local talent key features as Cavaliers squad named

Experience and plenty of local talent key features as Cavaliers squad named

A mix of familiar faces and up-and-coming local talent are the key features of the Counties Manukau Cavaliers squad selected today for a pre-season clash with North Harbour on July 22.

Steelers head coach Tai Lavea has selected 41 players who will train four times together between now and the first pre-season hit-out, which has been locked in at Papakura’s Massey Park with a kick off time of 6:30pm.

Karaka’s star first-five Baden Kerr, having returned home from Japan due to the COVID crisis, is a notable inclusion alongside other experienced players such as Manurewa’s Pele Cowley, Patumahoe’s Riley Hohepa, Pukekohe’s Sione Fifita and Waiuku’s Lyndon Dunshea.

In fact, nearly half the squad boasts individuals with Mitre 10 Cup experience while the rest of the group have impressed Lavea and his Steelers assistants with their club performances in recent weeks.

“In naming our Cavaliers squad, we have rewarded a lot of players for their performances at club level,” Lavea said.

“We still have some contracts up for grabs and have said all along that, where possible, we want local boys in the Steelers.

“We’ve only got a limited time with this squad but we are very focused on getting as much out of this rapid-fire programme as we can.”

Of the players selected, Pukekohe fullback Jarrod Halliday, who has starred at the back since stepping up to the premier grade this year, Manurewa hooker Ioane Moananu and Onewhero’s halfback Cameron Roigard will be players to watch.

Young Patumahoe lock Chals Palelei, another player with limited premier rugby experience, has also impressed Lavea with his physicality.

Fresh from a destructive performance during his side’s win over Pukekohe at the weekend, Samoan sevens star and Ardmore Marist Marist loose forward Alamanda Motuga has also been given a chance to showcase his skills alongside the likes of Viliami Taulani (Manurewa), Sam Slade (Pukekohe) and Johnathan Kawau (Bombay).

“I’ve been impressed with the quality of rugby I’ve seen in recent weeks and last week in particular, you could really see some teams and players step up again,” Lavea added.

“We’ll be assembling the Cavaliers squad on Mondays and Wednesdays only leading into our game against North Harbour to ensure these players can still train and play for their clubs – that’s extremely important for everyone.”

The Steelers are also set to play Northland and Bay of Plenty in warm-up games closer to the start of this year’s Mitre 10 Cup. Details of those pre-season fixtures are yet to be confirmed.

 

CMRFU Cavaliers Squad:

Joseph Casey

Ardmore Marist

Ioane Moananu

Manurewa

Matthew Malins

Patumahoe

Timote Asi

Karaka

Cameron Roigard

Onewhero

Pele Cowley

Manurewa

Baden Kerr

Karaka

Jesse Pascoe

Manurewa

Latiume Fosita

Ardmore Marist

Riley Hohepa

Patumahoe

Mickey Woolliams

Karaka

Matiaha Martin

Bombay

Lyndon Dunshea

Waiuku

Chals Palelei

Patumahoe

Rangi Otene

Waiuku

Johnathan Kawau

Bombay

Samuel Slade

Pukekohe

Viliami Taulani

Manurewa

Ryan Stewart

Waiuku

Dylan Leckner

Papakura

Antonio Kata

Karaka

Joweli Male

Patumahoe

Alamanda Motuga

Ardmore Marist

Rodney Tongatea

Karaka

Nikolai Foliaki

Karaka

Apenisa Sailo

Waiuku

Augustine Mafoe

Manurewa

Rowland-Keni Kotobalavu

Bombay

Luteru Laulala

Ardmore Marist

Deniro Jonah Refiti

Karaka

Sione Fifita

Pukekohe

Kalione Hala

Karaka

Aporosa Derenalagi

Waiuku

Joshua Gray

Ardmore Marist

Matthew Storm

Ardmore Marist

Jarrod Halliday

Pukekohe

Leigh Hughes

Pukekohe

Clinton Malolua

Papakura

Mark Royal

Ardmore Marist

Suetena Asomua

Waiuku

Duke Nginingini

Ardmore Marist

Patric Tulafasa

Karaka