Heiden Bedwell-Curtis named in initial Provincial Barbarians squad to play Lions

Heiden Bedwell-Curtis has played 40 games for the Manawatu Turbos.
ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ

Heiden Bedwell-Curtis has played 40 games for the Manawatu Turbos.

Heiden Bedwell-Curtis could have three cracks at the British and Irish Lions this year.

The Manawatu Turbos captain was one of 19 players named in Clayton McMillan's initial Provincial Barbarians squad on Wednesday.

 

The Provincial Barbarians are the first match on the Lions' tour on June 3 in Whangarei.

Bedwell-Curtis now has another opportunity to lace up his boots against the Warren Gatland-coached side.

The 25-year-old will also be in contention to play for the Crusaders on June 10 and will be in the running for selection for the New Zealand Maori side who play the Lions in Rotorua on June 17.

The loose forward made his New Zealand Maori debut in 2015, but missed the side's tour in 2016 due to a hip injury.

This is the first Lions tour to New Zealand where no provincial teams take on the touring side.

On their last tour to New Zealand in 2005, the Lions played seven provincial unions including the then second-division Manawatu who were thumped 109-6.

But this year New Zealand Rugby opted to schedule matches against Super Rugby franchises instead.

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Players from all 14 Mitre 10 Cup teams were represented in the group announced by McMillan on Wednesday.

Former Wanganui captain Peter Rowe will represent the perennial Heartland Championship winners.

He announced his retirement from rugby at the end of the Butcher Boys' unbeaten 2016 campaign, but will take part in the one-off match against the Lions.

North Harbour first five-eighth Bryn Gatland's naming opened the door for him to start a match against a side coach by his father for the first time.

Rowe, with 119 provincial rugby games under his belt, is the most experienced player in the side and at 35, he is also the oldest.

Rowe has six years on the squad's next most senior member in 29-year-old Otago hooker Sam Anderson-Heather.

At the other end of the scale, 20-year-old Waikato wing Sevu Reece is the youngest player in the group.

Counties Manukau halfback Jonathan Taumateine has the least provincial caps to his name with four.

The 2016 New Zealand Under 20s representative has played two games for the Chiefs this year.

More players will be added to the squad closer to the match.

The squad still needs one prop, one lock, and two back reserves to form a playing 23.

New Zealand Provincial Barbarians squad:

Aiden Ross (Bay of Plenty)
Tolu Fahamokioa (Wellington)
Sam Anderson-Heather (Otago)
Epalahame Faiva (Waikato)
Marcel Renata (Auckland)
Quinten Strange (Tasman)
Joshua Goodhue (Northland)
Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Manawatu)
Mitchell Brown (Taranaki)
Matthew Matich (Northland)
Peter Rowe (Wanganui)
Jonathan Taumateine (Counties Manukau)
Jack Stratton (Canterbury)
Bryn Gatland (North Harbour)
Jonathan Fa'auli (Taranaki)
Jonah Lowe (Hawke's Bay)
Sevuloni Reece (Waikato)
Luteru Laulala (Counties Manukau)
Junior Ngaluafe (Southland)

 - Stuff

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