Five Bay of Plenty Steamers players will be making their debut against Northland in the Mitre 10 Cup opener at Toll Stadium in Whangarei.
Head Coach Clayton McMillan has named the experienced team who will face Northland in the Mitre 10 Cup on Sunday, August 20 at 2:35pm.
Clayton says they have assembled a squad with a good blend of enthusiastic debutants and experience.
"The team understand the demands and challenges ahead but have prepared accordingly and are ready to meet those challenges head on.”
"This team represents our region. The quality of club rugby has improved, and as a result, we have a competition that's going down to the wire and brought a lot of excitement back to our club scene,” says Clayton. In his blazer game loose head prop Aidan Ross will be joined by Chiefs team mate Siegfried Fisi'ihoi and hooker James O'Reilly to pack down the front of the scrum.
An experienced locking duo of Captain Keepa Mewett and Bay of Plenty debutant Tom Franklin will complete the tight five.
Blindside flanker Hugh Blake will be joined by debutants Mitchell Karpik and Tyler Ardron to round out the forward pack. Debuting Half back Richard Judd will combine with the experienced Mike Delany at first five eight.
The midfield will see Te Puna's Terrence Hepetema at second five eight and Rangataua's Lalakai Foketi at centre.
All Black Seven's Joe Webber will debut on the left wing with Monty Ioane on the right. Chase Tiatia, in his blazer game will complete the explosive back line taking his place at fullback.
Whakarewarewa Prop Jordan Lay will be hoping to earn his first cap off the bench wearing the number 17 jersey.
The team is as follows:
() Denotes number of games
* Indicates Bay of Plenty Steamers debut
** Indicates Blazer game
Aidan Ross (14)**
James O'Reilly (9)
Siegfried Fisi'ihoi (28)
Keepa Mewett (24) – Captain
Hugh Blake (8)
Mike Delany (61) – Vice Captain
Terrence Hepetema (7)
Lalakai Foketi (18)
Monty Ioane (11)
Chase Tiatia (14)**
Sabastian Siataga (9)
Jeff Thwaites (11)
Troy Callander (12)
Henry Stowers (10)
Luke Campbell (4)
Elijah Nicholas (7)
Isaac Te Aute (11)
Mitre 10 Cup Fixture Details: Northland v Bay of Plenty Toll Stadium, Whangarei Kick-off: 2.35pm