Waikato has announced a 37-man squad ahead of the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup season.
This year’s squad features nine new faces that have the chance to play their first cap for the province. Earlier this year Fletcher Smith, Jack Stratton and Quinn Tupaea were announced as signing to the squad. They are joined by first year Waikato players including former Bay of Plenty and Sunwolves player Timothy Bond (Lock), Bayleys National Sevens Player of the Tournament, Jordan Bunce (Fullback), the Otorohanga duo of Haereiti Hetet (Prop) and Mosese Dawai (Outside Back), University of Waikato: Waikato Under 19’s player Niven Longopoa (Outside Back) and Wellington loan player Pepesana Patafilo (Midfield Back).
Returning to the province to add to their provincial caps are players Toby Smith (Prop), Michael Mayhew (Hooker), Jono Armstrong (Loose Forward), Murray Iti (Loose Forward) and brothers Declan O’Donnell (Outside Back) and Kylem O’Donell (Halfback).
For the first time in Waikato’s long proud history the squad features two sets of brothers as Declan and Kylem O’Donnell join Jacobson brothers, Luke and Mitch. The Jacobson brothers were the first set of brothers to play in the same side for the province in 24 years since the Coventry’s back in 1994.
A bulk of the Waikato squad has been selected off their strong performances from the recently concluded Waikato Club Rugby competition. Waikato head coach Jono Gibbes said, “The strong club competition this season has helped prepare the players for the upcoming campaign. The player’s energy levels are high and we need to sustain this level in this high pressure competition”
“The challenge for us and our playing style is to reflect the core values of the province, its supporters and sponsors.” Gibbes said.
Among the 37-man squad are ten full-time Super Rugby players and two current All Blacks representatives. All Blacks Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown will have very little game time due to International commitments.
Waikato's 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign begins in Palmerston North against Manawatu at Central Energy Trust Arena on Saturday August 18. The first home game at FMG Stadium Waikato is against North Harbour on Saturday 25 August.
2018 Waikato Mitre 10 Cup Squad
Sefo Kautai (20) Hamilton Marist
Toby Smith (50) Hamilton Old Boys
Ayden Johnstone (9) Hautapu
Josh Iosefa-Scott (8) Melville
Haereiti Hetet (*) Otorohanga
Atu Moli (18) University
Samisoni Taukeiaho (11) Fraser Tech
Sekope Lopeti-Moli (1) Hautapu
Mike Mayhew (3) Hautapu
Laghlan McWhannell (2) Hautapu
James Tucker (22) Hamilton Marist
Sam Caird (7) Hautapu
Tim Bond (*) University
Jono Armstrong (18) Hautapu
Luke Jacobson (10) Hautpau
Mitch Jacobson (26) Hautapu
Adam Burn (44) Hamilton Old Boys
Jordan Manihera (20) Hamilton Old Boys
Jahrome Brown (1) Melville
Murray Iti (17) Otorohanga
Raniera Takarangi (1) Hamilton Old Boys
Kylem O’Donnell (8) Melville
Jack Stratton (*)
Matty Lansdown (10) Fraser Tech
Fletcher Smith (*)
Damian McKenzie (24) University
Bailyn Sullivan (7) Hamilton Marist
Quinn Tupaea (*) Hamilton Old Boys
Pepesana Patafilo (*) Morrinsville Sports
Dwayne Sweeney (82) Morrinsville Sports
Anton Lienert-Brown (19) University
Mosese Dawai (*) Otorohanga
Jordan Bunce (*) Fraser Tech
Niven Longopoa (*) Fraser Tech
Sevu Reece (22) Hamilton Old Boys
Declan O’Donnell (29) Melville
Tyler Campbell (13) University
() = caps for Waikato
* = uncapped
Photo Credit: Lauran Robinson
Article added: Thursday 09 August 2018
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