September 08, 2020

Mitre 10 Cup Preview | Taranaki

After narrowly missing out on the Championship semifinals in 2019, Taranaki have retained the bulk of their squad and made some handy acquisitions to challenge for promotion to the Premiership.

Coach: Willie Rickards
Home ground: TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood
2019: Fifth in Championship

Talking points
With Yarrow Stadium out of action due to redevelopment this season, the Bulls will play their home games at TET Stadium and Events Centre in Inglewood. The new venue is sure to create a great atmosphere with fans situated close to the action when crowds are allowed back at Covid-19 Alert Level 1. There’s no argument that last season was an underperforming year for the Bulls and they will be desperate to bounce back strong in 2020. The addition of Chiefs assistant coach Neil Barnes and former player Jarad Hoeata to Wille Rickards’ coaching group will strengthen the Bulls off field while they have also added experience in the playing group with veteran prop Ben May, sevens star Lewis Ormond and former Maori All Blacks utility back Codey Rei among the new recruits in 2020.

Player to watch
One of the highlights of Super Rugby Aotearoa was the dominating display of loose forwards across all teams. One player who stood tall but didn’t capture the headlines or attention of national selectors like other players was blockbusting No.8 Pita Gus Sowakula. Despite playing in a Chiefs side that lost all eight of their games, Sowakula was a consistent performer for Warren Gatland’s side and averaged an incredible 76 minutes per-match to underline his importance to the side. The former basketball star will be looking to build on that form in the Mitre 10 Cup and lead Taranaki back into the Premiership.

Incoming players
Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens (All Blacks Sevens), Josh Walden (Hong Kong), Codey Rei (Japan), Ben May (Hawke’s Bay), Lewis Ormond (Southland)

Taranaki squad
Beauden Barrett, Ben May, Bradley Slater, Brayton Northcott-Hill, Chris Gawler, Codey Rei, Crusader Faletagoa’i, Daniel Waite, Donald Brighouse, Findlamor Hoeata, Jack Jordan, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Jared Proffit, Jayson Potroz, Jordie Barrett, Josh Lord, Kaylum Boshier, Kylem O’Donnell, Lachlan Boshier, Lewis Ormond, Lisati Milo-Harris, Lukas Halls, Millenium Sanerivi, Mitchell Brown, Mitchell Crosswell, Pita Gus Sowakula, Reuben O’Neill, Ricky Riccitelli, Scott Barrett, Sean Wainui, Stephen Perofeta, Teihorangi Walden, Tom Florence, Tupou Vaa’i, Warwick Lahmert

Taranaki draw
Taranaki v Bay of Plenty
Sunday 13 September
2.05pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

Canterbury v Taranaki (RS)
Saturday 19 September
4.35pm, Orangetheory Stadium

Taranaki v Otago
Sunday 27 September
2.05pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

Northland v Taranaki
Saturday 3 October
4.35pm, Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei

Taranaki v Auckland
Saturday 10 October
2.05pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

Southland v Taranaki
Saturday 17 October
7.05pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

Waikato v Taranaki
Sunday 25 September
4.35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato

Taranaki v Counties Manukau
Sunday 1 November
4.35pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

Manawatu v Taranaki
Sunday 8 November
4.35pm, Manfield Park

Taranaki v Hawke’s Bay
Sunday 15 November
2.05pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

Mitre 10 Cup Preview | Taranaki