The countdown towards the Bay of Plenty Steamers Premiership charge nears its final stretch, with another significant milestone ticked off the agenda.
The Bay of Plenty Rugby Union can now reveal the list of players named in the official 2021 Steamers squad for the season.
"Congratulations to the men who have been named in the squad. It's always an honour to be named to play for your province," says Steamers Head Coach Daryl Gibson.
"Being named in a provincial side comes with a huge responsibility as you represent everyone in the region."
Among the many criteria required to garner a coveted place in the squad, a strong emphasis on players' ties to the region has been a point of focus in the selection process.
"One of the things we've tried to do is make sure the players have a connection to the Bay of Plenty community," says Steamers Assistant Coach Richard Watt.
"Whether that be through family or friends - many players have whakapapa tracing back to this region, so we have tried to include players who have a connection with the Bay."
The Steamers are two games into a three-game pre-season campaign, including a historic exhibition match v the Western Force in Perth (lost 19-24) and a impressive win v Counties Manukau last weekend (won 38-14).
"Perth was a memorable occasion for the Union and a successful trip for both parties by all accounts," says Steamers Backs Coach Mike Delany.
"The boys enjoyed themselves, bonded well, and hopefully came away with some new friendships with our neighbours across the ditch.
"We also just played Counties Manukau over the weekend. It was our first hit-out against a fellow NPC side, and we are pleased to walk away with the win."
Their final pre-season game takes place against North Harbour this Friday at Katikati's Moore Park at 2.30pm.
The Bay of Plenty side will be wearing the WASPs Rugby Club kit to acknowledge the efforts of the Bay of Plenty WASPs Rugby club does to support the local community.
"We are all looking forward to the opportunity to play in Katikati, we don't go there very often, so it's great to get around the region," says Gibson.
"The Katikati game is also our final dress rehearsal before playing the defending champions Tasman and we are very much looking forward to that season-opener at the Tauranga Domain. That is in the forefront of our mind right now, and we've got to be ready."
"Win or lose, we want to make sure that we represent our people with pride."
Home game tickets are available to purchase online now by clicking here.
To see the full 2021 Bunnings NPC click here.
The new 2021 Bay of Plenty Rugby merchandise range drops on Thursday, July 29, and will be available to purchase online at www.boprugby.co.nz and also for sale at all five home games.
2021 Bay of Plenty Steamers Squad
Naitoa Ah Kuoi - Greerton Marist (0)
Sam Cane - Reporoa (21)
Whetukamokamo Douglas - Ngongotaha (0)
Kurt Eklund - Mount Maunganui (21)
Penitoa Finau - Greerton Marist (0)
Nathan Harris - Te Puke Sports (35)
Kohan Herbert - Mount Maunganui (0)
Haereiti Hetet - Mount Maunganui (3)
Mitch Karpik - Rangataua (35)
Benet Kumeroa - Rangiuru (0
Tevita Mafileo - Tauranga Sports (20)
Aidan Ross - Te Puke Sports (37)
Angus Scott-Young - Eastern Districts (0)
Manaaki Selby-Rickit - Mount Maunganui (0)
Jeff Thwaites - Te Puna (53)
Pasilio Tosi - Greerton Marist (0)
Tu'ukalikali Vaipulu - Rangiuru (0)
Stan van den Hoven - Greerton Marist (10)
Nathan Vella - Rangataua (18)
Otere Black - Ruatoki (10)
Luke Campbell - Te Puke Sports (36)
Leroy Carter - Tauranga Sports (15)
Inga Finau - Arataki (0)
Lalomilo Lalomilo - Greerton Marist (3)
Cassius Misa - Whakarewarewa (0)
Emoni Narawa - Tauranga Sports (21)
Mathew Skipwith-Garland - Whakarewarewa (28)
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi - Whakarewarewa (9)
Chase Tiatia - Rangataua (57)
Kaleb Trask - Tauranga Sports (22)
Sean Wainui - Whakarewarewa (0)
Joe Webber - Rangiuru (25)
Wider Training Group
Josh Bartlett – Tauranga Sports
Nikora Broughton – Rangiuru
Lucas Cashmore – Tauranga Sports
Pryor Collier – Mount Maunganu (7)
Losi Filipo – Greerton Marist
Veveni Lasaqa – Greerton Marist
Kane O’Connor – Rangataua
Semesi Paea – Ngongotaha
Justin Sangster – Te Puna
Sekuini Tanimo – Greerton Marist
() = denotes number of Steamers caps
* = denotes new cap
Head Coach: Daryl Gibson
Assistant Coach: Richard Watt
Assistant Coach: Mike Delany
Assistant Coach: Dan Cron
Assistant Coach: Tanerau Latimer
Manager: Wayne Brill
Head Strength & Conditioning Trainer: Thomas Stebbing
Assistant Strength & Conditioning Trainer: Scott Joblin
Physio: Heiner Otumuli
Doctor: Dr Andrew Tai Kie
Doctor: Dr Shaun Barklie
Assistant Analyst: Brad Morgan