July 22, 2019

Taranaki Bulls and Taranaki Whio squads named

Taranaki Rugby’s flagship provincial teams have named their squads ahead of the Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup which both start in August.

Yarrows Taranaki Bulls head coach Willie Rickards has reduced a wider training squad down to 34 players, while Port Taranaki Whio coach Matt Stone has selected a squad of 28.

In the Bulls squad, returning All Blacks Waisake Naholo and Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi will feature in the side throughout the season, along with several players returning from their Super Rugby commitments and players who have had strong CMK club rugby campaigns.

Rickards has gone with a 19-15 split between forwards and backs.

In the forwards, Taranaki welcome former Otago prop Donald Brighouse to the squad who played a pivotal role in Southern’s second round of the CMK premier club competition. He will bloster the front row with plenty of other options for the Bulls.

Impressive Coastal lock Josh Lord has been selected in the squad. He will be joined by New Zealand Under 20 representative Tupou Vaa’i, captain Mitch Brown and Jesse Parete in a strong second row.

There are plenty of options at loose forward for Rickards to mull over that includes the return of Heiden Bedwell-Curtis from Manawatu. New Zealand Under 20 captain Kaylum Boshier will join his brother Lachlan in the team.

To the backs, Taranaki has signed former Auckland halfback Lisati Milo-Harris who joins Tahuriorangi, former England and New Zealand sevens representative Warwick Lahmert and Xavier Roe as the number nines.

Due to injury, Stephen Perofeta won’t be available for the Bulls until the end of August, which will likely see Daniel Waite be the first choice first five-eighth for Taranaki.

The backline is stacked with talent with vice-captain Teihorangi Walden grouped with Sean Wainui, Regan Verny, born in Hawera, and Tukapa’s Lukas Halls in the midfield.

The outside backs include Waisake’s brother Kiniviliame and 50 cap Bull Jackson Ormond, Jayson Potroz and Brayton Northcott-Hill, who provides another option in the midfield.

Rickards said he has selected a talented squad with plenty of experience split across all positions.

“It’s really important for us to get the balance right between players who have played well during our club rugby programme and those who return from their Super Rugby commitments.

“We believe we have that mixture right and the players are looking forward to representing Taranaki,” he said.

“This time last year we had seven players ruled out due to injury, so we are already in a much better position.”

However, Rickards said wing Manasa Mataele and lock Fin Hoeata are the only two players ruled out for the season due to injuries sustained earlier this year.

The Bulls start their campaign against Counties Manukau in Pukekohe on Saturday 10 August.

Meanwhile, on top of an initial 28-strong Whio squad, Stone has named a 13-women development group to provide depth for the Whio.

Stone has opted for a 16-12 split between forwards and backs.

There is plenty of experienced scattered throughout the squad with Lisa Appert, Sharee Brown, Jalana Smith, Casio Austin, Kate Parkinson, Badinlee Munro-Smith, Jessie Aitken-Fowell and Brook Sim among several players returning for 2019.

The Whio has been bolstered by former New Zealand U18 Sevens representatives Iritana Hohaia and Brooke Neilson and New Zealand Maori U18 representatives Alesha Williams and Rongomaihenga Hohaia.

Stone said the 2018 season was a learning curve for the Whio after entering a team into the Farah Palmer Cup for the first time since 2013.

Those improvements came from an expanded club rugby competition which has increased the quality of rugby.

“We have improved structures in place this year, more strength and conditioning support, more on field training and growth in numbers by having a strong club competition,” he said.

Stone said an additional development squad will train with the team throughout the season, a concept to grow a larger group of players in an attempt to increase depth in Taranaki women’s rugby.

“2019 will be better prepared, meaning more competitive.”

The Farah Palmer Cup format has changed given Northland has entered a team. Taranaki will play five matches, with no cross-over games, plus a guaranteed play-off match at the end of the season.

Braydon Peterson and former Taranaki first five-eighth Daniel Brookes are Stone’s assistant coaches, with Nicole Chamberlain and Richard Corry appointed managers.

The Whio will play Otago in their first match of the season on Sunday 8 September.

Yarrows Taranaki Bulls:
Reuben O’Neill
Chris Gawler
Jared Proffit
Asaeli Sorovaki
Kyle Stewart
Donald Brighouse
Ricky Riccitelli
Bradley Slater
Scott Mellow
Mitch Brown (c)
Tupou Vaa’i
Leighton Price
Josh Lord
Jesse Parete
Heiden Bedwell-Curtis
Tom Florence
Kaylum Boshier
Lachlan Boshier
Pita Gus Sowakula
Te Toiroa Tahuirorangi
Lisati Milo-Harris
Warwick Lahmert
Xavier Roe
Stephen Perofeta
Daniel Waite
Teihorangi Walden (vc)
Regan Verney
Sean Wainui
Lukas Halls
Kiniviliame Naholo
Waisake Naholo
Jackson Ormond
Jayson Potroz
Brayton Northcott-Hill

Port Taranaki Whio
Alesha Williams
Awhina Kingi
Badinlee Munro-Smith
Bethany Gibbs
Brooke Neilson
Brooke Sim
Casio Austin
Chelsea Fowler
Iritana Hohaia
Jalana Smith
Jessica Lampe
Jessie Aitken-Fowell
Kate Parkinson
Kaya-Rose Kahui
Latesha Berry
Lavenia Nauga-Grey
Leah Barnard
Lisa Appert
Mikaylah Callaghan
Miriam Karalus
Natasha Hintz
Nattie Huapapa
Petra Zwart
Rongomaihenga Hohaia
Sharee Brown
Tiaan Taylor
Utumalama Atonio
Victoria McCullough

Taranaki Bulls and Taranaki Whio squads named