The champion College Old Boys team provides 10 of the players named in the Manawatu development squad.
And it could have been more.
Centre Matenga Baker couldn't commit because he might be returning to Spain and former Manawatu halfback Karl Bryson requires knee surgery.
It is a further reflection of COB's depth that three of their players who have mostly been reserves this season, hooker Cory Purton, lock Sam Stevens and prop Wiremu Cottrell, have made the cut.
A case could also have been made for another COB forward, one of the most effective locks around, Charles Macdonald.
But two-metre locks such as Stevens are a scarce commodity in Manawatu clubs.
Cottrell, a former Napier Boys' High School First XV captain, is highly rated. He can also cover all three front-row positions while Purton excelled in the Manawatu under-20s campaign last year.
Manawatu prop Damian Horgan hasn't made the side.
Coaches Aaron Good and Greg Fleming have had to build a squad after many players declared themselves unavailable or were injured.
Former Manawatu hooker Bryn Templeman is off to Germany, Old Boys-Marist hooker Liam Nichols will be leaving for England
Feilding Old Boys-Oroua midfield back Jamie Perigo would have been in the team, but he is off to play for an English club with Stags captain Eddie Cranston.
"We are rapt to have this team," Good said. "It is for the next tier of guys and will hopefully inspire our club rugby a little bit too."
Good scoured club games every Saturday checking out the talent.
The development team was resurrected this year having last played in 2010.
It was ditched for financial reasons and had left the Turbos without a back-up side to develop talent, to allow surplus Manawatu players each week to get game time and for others to be playing rugby in case they were needed.
Te Kawau folk might ask, where is their captain Doug Horrocks?
The former New Zealand Schools flanker won the Manawatu best-and-fairest club rugby competition and it would have been by miles had his team been winning.
He also excelled when called in late into the Manawatu Evergreens team on June 18.
The openside flankers picked are Varsity's Cormac Chalmers and COB's Johnny Galloway who was mostly played at lock for his club.
Kia Toa midfield back, Tevita Taufu'i, a man with 24 Turbos games to his name, is clearly on the outer and paying for not having distributed the ball a lot this year.
Good also believes Manawatu needs to build depth at first five-eighth. Old Boys-Marist's Shaun Curry is out, to allow himself to recover from his injuries.
That means the promising Isaac Winter, who has also been injury-plagued this season after excelling last year, is in the squad alongside Varsity's Clayton Stewart.
Ben Wyness (Feilding) must also have gone close.
Te Kawau halfback Toby Morland was not available for family-business reasons.
The team has a nine-match programme, all but two of them to be played in Palmerston North.
They will play the three nearby Heartland unions and will finish with a four-team mini-competition involving Hawke's Bay, Wellington development and Wellington Samoans.
MANAWATU DEVELOPMENT SQUAD
Atutahi Henare (Kia Toa), Ben Edwards (OBM), Brad Truesdale (COB), Brice Henderson (COB), Chris Long (OBM), Clayton Stewart (Varsity), Cormac Chalmers (Varsity), Cory Purton (COB), Cyrus Baker (COB), Dan Law (OBM), Doug Juszczyk (Varsity), Hakarangi Tichborne (Linton Army), Isaac Winter (OBM), Jaxon Tagavaitau (Linton Army), Johnny Galloway (COB), Jordan Bunce (Kia Toa), Malele Sau (Kia Toa), Matt Gardner (COB), Mosese Havea (Feilding), Osea Rokubu (Te Kawau), Rhys Pedersen (OBM), Robin Praat (Varsity), Sam Stevens (COB), Willie Harris (COB), Willie Paia'aua (COB), Wiremu Cottrell (COB). 2014
Sat Aug 2, 2.30pm Wairarapa-Bush, Memorial Park, Masterton Sat Aug 9, 1pm Taranaki Development, Inglewood Tue Aug 12, 6:30 Wanganui, Cooks Gardens, Wanganui Sat Aug 16, 1pm Horowhenua-Kapiti, Shannon Domain Sat Aug 23, 1pm Hawke's Bay Development, PN. Sat Aug 30, 1pm Hawke's Bay Development, Dannevirke Sat Sep 13, 2.30pm Hawke's Bay Development, Napier Sat Sep 20, 1pm Wellington Development, PN. Sat Sep 27, 1pm Wellington Samoans, Porirua
- Manawatu Standard
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