The McNamara Cup season has been thrown wide open with a number of leading players set to miss the next few weeks as international duty beckons for Pacific Island players.
Karaka will lose props Duke Nginingini and Sila Puafisi as well as midfield back Nikolai Foliaki to the Tongan national side.
Ardmore Marist will be without impressive loose forward Alamanda Motuga, who is in the Samoan side, while Manurewa have bid farewell to damaging loose forward Viliami Taulani (Tonga).
Bombay’s Kalolo Tuiloma has also been included in the Samoan squad while Pukekohe’s Sam Slade has played his last game this season.
Slade was singled out by Pukekohe coach Sean Polwart after his side’s draw against Manurewa on the weekend.
“A special mention to Sam Slade who played his last game for the season for us,” Polwart said. “He’s been massive all year for us both on and off the field.
“He’s hardly missed a training and been great for our young boys.
“We wish him all the best for the Samoa campaign.”
All players are expected to be back in PIC Steelers frame by the time of the National Provincial Championship.
Karaka, Ardmore Marist, Manurewa and Patumahoe have been confirmed as the four semi-finalists with the next three week’s of action set to determine home field advantage.
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