Waikato has announced an initial 34-man Bunnings Warehouse National Provincial Championship squad for the upcoming 2021 season.
This year’s squad will be co-captained by Ayden Johnstone and Fletcher Smith, with the bulk of the 2020 squad returning in 2021.
The team has already announced the return of influential squad members, Sefo Kautai, Jack Lam, Liam Messam, Fletcher Smith, and James Tucker.
There are three uncapped Waikato players named in this season’s squad. These players that will have a chance to play their first cap for the province include, Fraser Tech and New Zealand under 20’s exciting outside back, Tepaea Cook-Savage, Fraser Tech and Samoan International First Five/Fullback, D’Angelo Leuila and former Hamilton Boys’ High School captain, Waikato Under 19’s captain and New Zealand Sec Schools player, Tom Martin, who joins an experienced loose forward pack.
This seasons squad features five current All Blacks, sixteen Super Rugby players and two Samoan Internationals.
This year Waikato’s All Blacks contingent has grown from two in 2020 of Anton Lienert-Brown and Damian McKenzie, to five with Luke Jacobson, returning to the squad for the first time since 2019 and All Blacks rookie’s Samisoni Taukei’aho and Quinn Tupaea also earning their national debuts this year.
This season could see four player reach playing milestones. Liam Messam currently has 93 Waikato caps and has a chance to become Waikato’s newest centurion. While Samisoni Taukei’aho (44), James Tucker (42) and Sefo Kautai (40) have a chance of reaching the 50 games milestone.
Waikato head coach Ross Filipo said, “We are again pleased to name a squad that is made up predominately of players from 2020, that last season helped us reach the semi-finals. That group will be looking to continuing on from the successes of last season and to go even further this season.”
These players that we have selected all have great character and are hard-working men that will strive to make this province proud especially in this special year for Waikato Rugby as we celebrate 100 years.
Waikato's 2021 Bunnings Warehouse National Provincial Championship campaign begins this Sunday (August 8) against North Harbour at North Harbour Stadium, kick-off 2.05pm.
Before the team returns home to FMG Stadium Waikato the following Sunday (August 15) that will be a double header, with the Waitomo Group: Waikato FPC playing the first game of the day at 12.05pm followed by the Waikato NPC team playing at 2.05pm, both sides will face their Wellington opponents.
2021 Waikato Bunnings Warehouse National Provincial Championship Squad
Hamilton Burr (18) Hautapu
Rob Cobb (15) Hamilton Old Boys
Tepaea Cook-Savage (*) Fraser Tech
Liam Coombes-Fabling (11) Fraser Tech
Mosese Dawai (5) Hautapu
Rhys Dickinson (2) Fraser Tech
George Dyer (2) Fraser Tech
Samipeni Finau (16) Hamilton Old Boys
Luke Jacobson (22) Hautapu
Mitch Jacobson (51) Hautapu
Ayden Johnstone (23) Hautapu
Sefo Kautai (40) Hamilton Marist
Jack Lam (36) Hamilton Marist
Matty Lansdown (32) Fraser Tech
D’Angelo Leuila (*) Fraser Tech
Anton Lienert-Brown (21) University
Sekope Lopeti-Moli (15) University
Tom Martin (*)
Damian McKenzie (26) University
Laghlan McWhannell (15) Hautapu
Steven Misa (20) Hamilton Marist
Liam Messam (93) Hautapu
Ollie Norris (20) Hautapu
Simon Parker (11) Hautapu
Cortez Ratima (10) Otorohanga
Xavier Roe (10) Hamilton Old Boys
Fletcher Smith (30) University
Bailyn Sullivan (35) Hamilton Marist
Samisoni Taukei’aho (44) Fraser Tech
James Thompson (13) Hautapu
James Tucker (42) Hamilton Marist
Quinn Tupaea (30) Hamilton Old Boys
Beaudein Waaka (7) Melville
Gideon Wrampling (9) Te Awamutu Sports
() = caps for Waikato
* = uncapped for Waikato
Article added: Monday 02 August 2021