The Chiefs Development side will again have three March matches this year, with two of those against international opposition.
The Chiefs yesterday announced the Chiefs Development training squad and programme for 2013.
The team will play the Blues Development at Auckland's Eden Park on March 10, followed by games against Tonga A (March 23 in Te Kuiti) and Samoa A (March 28 in Te Awamutu) as part of the IRB Pacific Rugby Cup.
Last season the Chiefs Development team lost narrowly to the Blues Development, hammered Samoa A then were pipped by Fiji A.
This year's training squad includes a wider group of selected ITM Cup players and younger players from the Chiefs region to receive skills coaching sessions by Chiefs coaches Dave Rennie, Tom Coventry, Andrew Strawbridge and Wayne Smith, together with the Chiefs Development team coaches Johnny Walters, Carl Hoeft and Dave Dillon.
Bay of Plenty coach Kevin Schuler, Waikato coach Chris Gibbes and Counties-Manukau coach Tana Umaga will also provide resource coach assistance at trainings when available.
The Chiefs Development teams to play the matches will be selected from the Development training squad together with available Chiefs squad and wider squad players.
"The Chiefs Development programme is an important part of the Chiefs season and our approach of working together with our Chiefs region provincial unions in the identifying, coaching and development of players across the Chiefs region for ITM Cup and Super Rugby," Chiefs high performance manager Chris Tindall said.
"From his performance in the Chiefs Development programme last year Bundee Aki earned ... [a contract] for the 2013 Chiefs squad."
DEVELOPMENT TRAINING SQUAD
Props: Matt Talaese (Counties-Manukau), Pingi Tala'apitaga (Bay of Plenty), Loni Uhila (Waikato), John Tu'ungafasi (Waikato), Joe Walsh (Waikato), Josh Davey (Waikato). Hookers: Suliasi Taufalele (Counties-Manukau), Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty), Kalifi Pongi (Counties Manukau), Hame Faiva (Waikato).
Locks: Sam Kilgour (Waikato), Keepa Mewett (Bay of Plenty), Nick Ross (Waikato), Aarin Dunster (King Country), Brian Alainu'uese (Waikato), James Tucker (Waikato), Troy Callander (Bay of Plenty).
Loose forwards: Johan Bardoul (Bay of Plenty), Sonny Afililonga (Waikato), Jacob Ale (Waikato), Maama Vaipulu (Counties-Manukau), Jossan Levien (Waikato), Kane Jacobson (Waikato), Rory Grice (Waikato), Carl Axtens (Bay of Plenty), Adam Burn (Waikato), Jeff Thwaites (Bay of Plenty).
Halfbacks: Josh Hall (Bay of Plenty), Jamie Nutbrown (Bay of Plenty), Ruan du Ploy (Waikato), Ben Draper (King Country).
First five-eighths: Wharenui Hawera (Waikato), Tom Halse (Counties-Manukau), Thomas Bird (Waikato), Brook Treymayne (Thames Valley).
Midfielders: Tyrone Lefau (Counties-Manukau), Jacob Proctor (Waikato), Marnus Hanley (Waikato), Anton Lienert-Brown (Waikato), Niko Malo (Waikato), Dillon Collier (Waikato).
Outside backs: Toni Pulu (Counties-Manukau), Junior Tofa-Va'a (Bay of Plenty), Semisi Masirewa (Waikato), Sione Molia (Counties-Manukau), Elijah Nicholas (Bay of Plenty), Mason Walker (Bay of Plenty), Joe Reynolds (Counties-Manukau), Joe Webber (Waikato).
Players not available due to injury: Simon Lemalu (Counties-Manukau), Fraser Armstrong (Waikato), Adam Cathcart (Counties-Manukau), Haami Martin (Waikato), Regan Ware (Waikato), Toby Arnold (Bay of Plenty), Josh Gascoigne (Waikato).
Sunday, March 10: v Blues Development, Eden Park, afternoon kickoff TBC
Saturday, March 23: v Tonga A, Te Kuiti, 2.45pm
Thursday, March 28: v Samoa A, Te Awamutu, 5.15pm
- Waikato Times
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