The Chiefs' title-winning heroes won't make a start for the Waikato rugby side until the national provincial championship starts next week.
Waikato coach Chris Gibbes has named a starting XV for tonight's match against Counties-Manukau in Papakura without Chiefs halfbacks Brendon Leonard and Tawera Kerr-Barlow, newly appointed Waikato captain Alex Bradley, Chiefs co-captain Liam Messam, midfield back Jackson Willison, prop Toby Smith and lock Romana Graham.
Leonard is likely to get game time however, being included among the nine reserves, which also feature former All Black Marty Holah.
However, the Waikato starting lineup does include Hurricanes prop Ben May and Chiefs wing Declan O'Donnell.
Gibbes has named Piers Francis to start in the No 10 jersey, with Sam Christie at second five. May will prop the scrum with Fraser Armstrong, while Chris Middleton and Sam Kilgour start in the second row.
Former Waikato players David Bason and Frank Halai will line up for the hosts, who are coached by former All Black skipper Tana Umaga.
Waikato, beaten in the past two finals, begin their ITM Cup campaign on August 26 when they travel to Albany to meet North Harbour.
Tonight's match at Massey Park, Papakura, kicks off at 6pm. Gates open at 4.30pm and entry is $5 for adults and free for 13 and under.
HOW THEY LINE UP
Waikato: Trent Renata, Glen Robertson, Save Tokula, Sam Christie, Declan O'Donnell, Piers Francis, Ruan du Plooy, Jono Armstrong, Zac Hohneck, Matt Vant Leven, Sam Kilgour, Chris Middleton, Ben May, Marcel Cummings-Toone, Fraser Armstrong. Reserves: Wharenui Hawera, Joe Webber, Marnus Hanley, Brendon Leonard, Marty Holah, Johan Bardoul, Ted Tauroa, Loni Uhila, Kalem Chan Boon. Counties-Manukau: Ray Laulala, Frank Halai, Rey Lee Lo, Bundee Aki, Tony Pulu, Kane Hancy, David Bason, Adam Cathcart, Maama Vaipulu, Ronald Raaymakers, Jummi Tupou, Simon Lemalu, Daniel Adongo, Matt Talaese, Suliasi Taufalele. Reserves: Josh Rowlands, Tom Halse, John Luteru, Tyrone Lefau, Baden Kerr, August Pulu, Mark Selwyn, Jamie Chipman, Peter Hale, Maka Tatafu, Mark Price
- © Fairfax NZ News
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