Taranaki under-19 rugby squad named
The Taranaki under-19 coaches have named a wider training squad of 38 players to prepare for the Jock Hobbs Memorial national tournament in Taupo in September.
From pre-season games and seeding matches against Chiefs Super Rugby region unions Counties-Manukau, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, a final 25-man team for the tournament will be named.
Taranaki has to realistically win two of the three qualifying matches to make the top eight section of the national tournament. The team has qualified for the top division every year.
"It's a really strong group of players," Taranaki Rugby academy manager David Ormrod said. "It's a great chance to have a look at guys who have gone well in premier rugby and in the colts competition. All the first-year members of the academy have been selected so it's an opportunity for them to put their hand up and impress."
The wider training squad, under coaches Tim Stuck and Laurence Corlett, will have their first training session on Wednesday at Yarrow Stadium. Taranaki Rugby secondary school rugby development officer Josh Hamilton is the backs and attack coach, while Dean Spicer is team manager.
Three players named – Bradley Slater, Tom Florence, and Ciarahn Matoe – are based in Hamilton with the Chiefs academy, while the remainder of the squad are from clubs throughout the province.
First five-eighth Matoe was a member of the New Zealand under-20 squad for the recent Oceania under-20 championship, and Matoe, loose forward Florence and hooker Slater have been members of past New Zealand schools teams.
At a glance
Taranaki under-19 wider training squad 2017
Forwards: Alex Mitchell (Inglewood), Kyle Stewart (Stratford), Chad Petersen (NPOB), Toby Burkett (NPOB), Bradley Slater (Hautapu), Luke Dravitzki (Tukapa), Kane Perrett (Spotswood United), Liam Penn (Tukapa), Michael Winter (Spotswood United), Tom Florence (Hautapu), Louis Duffels Des-Forges (Tukapa), Moiaha Kershaw (Southern), Jesse Goodwin (NPOB), William Butler (Stratford-Eltham), Joel Chard (Coastal), Jonnie Palmer (Stratford-Eltham), Luke Fowler (NPOB), Josh Iwikau (Clifton).
Backs: Brodie Lilley (NPOB), Cody Chilcott (Waikato University), Emerson Gray (Spotswood United), Zach Henderson (Clifton), Ciarahn Matoe (Hautapu), Tutewhenua Taylor-Tupaea (Spotswood United), Brayton Northcott-Hill (NPOB), Jahmarl Weir (NPOB), John Lomu-Tovo (Tukapa), Chayce Bailey (Stratford-Eltham), Adam Keane (Southern), Josh Thomson (Southern), Matt Guthrie (NPOB), Josh Perrett (Spotswood United), Desmond Tyrell (Inglewood), Salesi Havea (Spotswood United), Keani Broughton (Southern), Michael McDonald (Inglewood), Dammon Pittams (Southern).
Unavailable due to injury: Matt Willshire (Hamilton Marist), Shaun Phillips (Tukapa), Luke Brown (Inglewood), Mitch O'Neill (NPOB).