August 18, 2023

University of Waikato Chiefs Heartland Under 20 Squad Named

The Chiefs Rugby Club has named 27 talented young players for their University of Waikato Chiefs Heartland Under 20 squad. Players were selected from the Chiefs Heartland Provincial Unions of Thames Valley and Kings Country to represent the club in two fixtures next month.

The first match will be against the Counties Manukau Under 19s before the squad travels to Napier to face the Hurricanes Under 20 Heartland team. The Chiefs and Hurricanes teams will compete for the Glen Osborne Cup that honours the former All Black who represented both sides in Super Rugby. Osborne played for the Chiefs Rugby Club from 1996-1998 before moving to the Hurricanes in 1999.

Chiefs Rugby Club Head of Pathways Kent Currie said the club was delighted to be continuing this initiative.

"Thames Valley and King Country are two proud provincial unions that play a significant role in our pathway programme. Establishing this Heartland Under 20 squad last year allowed us to build stronger connections in these regions, and successfully identify players with the potential to play at Super Rugby level.”

As Currie said recently of the Chiefs Country Under 19 teams: "Our philosophy as an organisation is to give our region's most talented players opportunities, first and foremost, as opposed to having to recruit from outside our region.”

The University of Waikato Chiefs Heartland Under 20 campaign gives these players a chance to further learn and develop their skills across all areas of rugby with the support of experienced coaches and management.

The skilled coaching team is this year led by previous Waikato and New Zealand representative Paul Hodder alongside Jackson Willison who was part of the 2012 championship-winning Chiefs side. Former Thames Valley and King Country player Gene Waller will complete the knowledgeable coaching group.

University of Waikato Chiefs Heartland Under 20 Squad (last name, first name, club):

Thames Valley Rugby Football Unio
Blok, Torban - United U21s
Butler, Rian - United U21s
Chwesik, Korbin - Mercury Bay Rugby and Sport Club
Clague, Adam - Mercury Bay Rugby and Sport Club
Gilbert, Fozz - Whangamata Rugby & Sports Club
Harper Dent, Ihaka - Hautapu Sports Club (Origin - Coromandel)
Hau-Mirko, William - Mercury Bay Rugby and Sport Club
Hazleton, Caleb - Waihou Rugby & Sports Club
McKain, Aiden - United U21s
Ropiha, Kellim - United U21s
Saxon, Kaleb - Hautapu Sports Club (Origin - Waihou Rugby & Sports Club)
Sheehan, Devyn - Waihou Rugby & Sports Club
Wiki, Rhys - United U21s

King Country Rugby Football Union
Anderson, Huia - Hautapu Sports Club (Origin - Taupo)
Arnold, Hunter - Taupo United Rugby & Sports Club
Barrowcliffe, Topia - Clifton Rugby & Sports Club (Origin - Piopio)
Cook, George - Hautapu Sports Club (Origin - Taupo)
Cressy Baggot, Levi - Hamilton Marist Rugby Football Club (Origin - Te Kuiti)
Hatu-Pratt, Zylar - Bush United Rugby Football Club
Hedley, Patrick - University of Waikato Rugby (Origin - Te Kuiti)
Marshall, Phayzen - Waitete Rugby Football Club
Muller, Kess - Kio Kio United Sports Club
Pakome, Brandon - Taupo Rugby & Sports Club
Phillips, Kees - Hautapu Sports Club (Origin – Tongariro)
Quinn, Taipari - Te Awamutu Rugby Sports & Rec Club
Spence, Nicholas - University of Waikato Rugby (Origin - Tongariro)
Talivai - Leydon, Hunter - Taupo Rugby & Sports Club

Team Management
Head Coach: Paul Hodder
Coach: Gene Waller
Coach: Jackson Wilison
Manager: Ryan Gulbransen
Assistant Manager: Keith Middlemiss
Physiotherapist: Tane Hotham
Trainer: Olly Spicer

Saturday 9th September: vs Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union U19 Hauraki Plains
Friday 15th September: vs Hurricanes Rugby Club Heartland U20 McLean Park, Napier

Pictured: 2022 University of Waikato Chiefs Heartland U20 team

University of Waikato Chiefs Heartland Under 20 Squad Named