December 08, 2022

Pre-Season Underway With Wider Training Squad

The Gallagher Chiefs this week began their pre-season training with the addition of 18 players who will join the squad on National Development contracts (NDC) and as replacement players. The majority of these players have been selected from within Chiefs Country to continue to foster the talent of the region.

The New Zealand Rugby (NZR) initiative of NDC contracts allows promising young players the chance to be immersed in the professional rugby environment for the DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.

Talented local players Toby Taylor, Kauvaka Kaivelata, Cody Nordstrom and Jole Naufahu have shone throughout the Chiefs Rugby Club pathways, beginning their association during the University of Waikato U18 camps. Fiti Sa also impressed in the age grades being named in the 2020 New Zealand U18 Barbarians side and the New Zealand U19 side, touring South Africa alongside Nordstrom.

Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan is excited to have this talented group joining the squad for the season.

"It’s fantastic having these young men join us on National Development contracts for the 2023 season. They will be able to rub shoulders with All Blacks and seasoned professionals to learn what it takes to play at Super Rugby level."

"These players are future Gallagher Chiefs and this opportunity will undoubtedly accelarate their development and prepare them well for the challenges ahead".

In addition to those on NDC contracts, a number of players will provide cover for absent All Blacks, All Blacks XV players and injured players over the pre-season period.

Prop Solomone Tukuafu, lock Hamilton Burr and outside back Solomon Alaimalo have all previously ran out for the Gallagher Chiefs. Waikato's Liam Coombes-Fabling also spent a full pre-season with the Gallagher Chiefs last season before getting a playing opportunity with the Highlanders.

Older brother of Gallagher Chiefs prop Ollie Norris, Jacob Norris joins the squad as does Counties Manukau's Jadin Kingi, North Harbour’s Wallace Sititi, and Waikato’s Te Rama Reuben.

Connor Collins and Adam Lennox will come in to cover the All Blacks XV halfbacks, whilst Bay of Plenty's Lalomilo Lalomilo and Taranaki's Daniel Rona will cover the midfield.

Bay of Plenty and New Zealand U19 hooker Taine Kolosi will provide cover at hooker.

McMillan continued, "We also welcome in a talented group as replacement players for the pre-season. Due to the competitiveness of the competition and natural attrition rate, there is every chance these men could play for us this season, so they will be using this pre-season opportunity to advocate their case."

The full 2023 Gallagher Chiefs squad will assemble in late January following the return of the All Blacks.

National Development Contract players:
Cody Nordstrom (Waikato)
Fiti Sa (Taranaki)
Jole Naufahu (Waikato)
Kauvaka Kaivelata (Counties Manukau)
Toby Taylor (Bay of Plenty)

Replacement players:
Adam Lennox (Taranaki)
Connor Collins (Wellington)
Daniel Rona (Taranaki)
Hamilton Burr (Waikato)
Jacob Norris (Bay of Plenty)
Jadin Kingi (Counties Manukau)
Lalomilo Lalomilo (Bay of Plenty)
Liam Coombes-Fabling (Waikato)
Solomon Alaimalo (Southland)
Solomone Tukuafu (Waikato)
Taine Kolosi (Bay of Plenty)
Te Rama Reuben (Waikato)
Wallace Sititi (North Harbour)

Pre-Season Underway With Wider Training Squad