Experienced Counties Manukau Bs side named

A total of 10 players with Mitre 10 Cup experience have been named in the Counties Manukau Bs squad for the upcoming season.

The coaching group, led by McNamara Cup winner Jeff Marr, has named a 24-strong side for games against neighbouring provinces through October and early November.

Front rower Mark Royal, experienced lock Viliame Rarasea and first-five Riley Hohepa were regulars in the PIC Steelers side last season and will play key roles with this group in 2020 while long-serving Bombay first-five and Samoan international Ki Anufe will also be a central figure.

Waiuku’s Ryan Stewart and Ardmore Marist’s Dylan Leckner are both on the fringe of the PIC Steelers set up this year having been included in a wider Mitre 10 Cup squad and will be key members of the loose forward trio.

“This is a side that is full of talent and I am looking forward to seeing what they can do as a combined entity,” coach Jeff Marr said.

“Many of these players are capable of playing at a higher level and would like to be in the mix should opportunity present itself with the PIC Steelers in the Mitre 10 Cup.

“With COVID-19 impacting rugby as much as it has this year there have been limited opportunities for players to put up their hand so our guys are itching to get out onto the park and showcase themselves.”

The side is made up entirely of local club players and is dominated by the clubs that made the McNamara Cup semi-finals – Ardmore Marist, Karaka, Bombay and Manurewa.

The Counties Manukau Bs open their campaign with a game against North Harbour Development side at Navigation Homes Stadium in Pukekohe on Saturday October 3.

Counties Manukau Bs Squad: Ki Anufe (Bombay), Mote Asi (Karaka), Adam Brash (Bombay), Jimmy Conaglen (Bombay), Josh Gray (Ardmore Marist), Riley Hohepa (Patumahoe), Antonio Kata (Karaka), Rowland Kotobalavu (Bombay), Dylan Leckner (Ardmore Marist), Pat Masoe (Bombay), Duke Nginingini (Ardmore Marist), Albert Nikoro (Bombay), Rangi Otene (Waiuku), Jesse Pascoe (Manurewa), Viliame Rarasea (Ardmore Marist), Jonah Refiti (Karaka), Savelio Ropati (Ardmore Marist), Mark Royal (Ardmore Marist), Ryan Stewart (Waiuku), Matt Storm (Ardmore Marist), Tui Toai-Key (Bombay), Zion Tofilau Lui (Pukekohe), Rodney Tongotea (Karaka). Note: One player to be added.