PIC Steelers named for Super Rugby Aotearoa pre-season match

Three Counties Manukau PIC Steelers players have been included in the Chiefs teams to face the Blues and Hurricanes in a Super Rugby Aotearoa game of three halves pre-season match at Upper Hutt’s Maidstone Park on Saturday.

Prop Ezekiel Lindenmuth and blindside flanker Viliami Taulani have been named by coach Clayton McMillan to start against the Hurricanes at midday while speedster Etene Nanai-Seturo has been named on the left wing to face the Blues in their 40 minutes of play.

Saturday’s game represents the first game action of the year for all players.

“Our pre-season has gone well and we’re keen to test some scenarios and combinations in a live fixture,” McMillan said. “We know how intense Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa is, so it’s an important part of every team’s preparations to test ourselves against each other early, learn a few lessons, and make some adjustments leading into the season.

“It’s also an opportunity for individuals to stake a claim for a starting position, and that internal competition is what will help us drive the standards we have set for ourselves,” McMillan added.

The PIC Steelers’ two All Blacks Nepo Laulala and Dalton Papali’i will make their season debuts next week for the Blues but Jonathan Taumateine, Orbyn Leger and Cameron Roigard could all feature this week for the Hurricanes.

Super Rugby Aotearoa begins on Friday February 26 with the Highlanders hosting the Crusaders.

PIC Steelers players will be in action when the Blues travel to Wellington to face the Hurricanes the following night while the Chiefs open their campaign at home on Friday March 5 when they host the Highlanders at FMG Stadium.