We booty a attending at the seven teams alienated in the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup Championship and contour their chances.
Squad: Nathan Harris, Liam Polwart, Joseph Royal, Sabastian Siataga, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi – Rotoiti, Jordan Lay, Aidan Ross, Solomona Sakalia, Pingi Tala’apitaga, Jeff Thwaites, Troy Callander, Shahn Eru, Keepa Mewett, Culum Retallick, Matty Axtens, Hugh Blake, Sam Cane, Mitchell Karpik, Jesse Parete, Henry Stowers, Eru Wano-Smith, Joe Tupe, Luke Campbell, Ruki Tipuna, Te Aihe Toma, Kelly Haimona, Dan Hollinshead, Lalakai Foketi, Terrence Hepetema, Teddy Stanaway, Joe Webber, Te Rangi Fraser, Monty Ioane, Elijah Nicholas, Chase Tiatia, Isaac Te Aute, Regan Ware
Prospects: With a aggregation abounding of electric runners and comedy makers, Bay of Affluence cannot be discounted as a appellation threat. The abeyant dearth of flanker Sam Cane and hooker Nathan Harris to All Blacks assignment will be a draft but the accession of agitative flanker Mitchell Karpik will accommodate a boost.
MANAWATUCoach: Jeremy CotterLast season: Relegated from the Premiership
Squad: Ambrose Curtis, Antonio Kiri Kiri, Callum Gibbins, Chris Eves, Curtis Reid, Fraser Armstrong, Hamish Northcott, Harrison Brewer, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Hunter Prescott, Jackson Hemopo, Jamie Booth, Jason Emery, Kane Thompson, Kayne Hammington, Liam Hallam-Eames, Luther Hirini, Michael Alaalatoa, Nathan Tudreu, Newton Tudreu, Ngani Laumape, Otere Black, Sam Malcolm, Tim Cadwallader, Toby Morland, Tom Parsons, Travis Taylor, Tukiterangi Raimona, Valentino Mapapalangi, Aaron Cruden, Aaron Smith
Players to watch: There’s no curtailment of ability in the Manawatu backline with electric addition Ambrose Curtis, able midfielder Jason Emery and chic playmaker Otere Black all able of d breaking moments. Up front, 135kg Crusaders prop Michael Alaalatoa will appetite to body on his solid anatomy in Super Rugby.
Prospects: With a ample aggregation and abyss beyond the park, Manawatu will be acquisitive to accost their abode in the Premiership afterwards actuality relegated aftermost year. There’s no curtailment of Super Rugby acquaintance throughout the ancillary and a abeyant backward division abrasion acknowledgment of All Blacks speedster Nehe Milner-Skudder could accommodate an added boost.
NORTHLANDCoach: Richie HarrisLast season: 7th
Prospects: The alone way is up for Northland afterwards a winless 2015 attack which yielded aloof one accident benefit point beyond the accomplished season. The signing of adept aboriginal five-eighth Peter Breen from Otago will add administration to the backline while electric addition Jone Macilai showed for the Crusaders this year that he is a d breaker.
NORTH HARBOURCoach: Steve JacksonLast season: 5thSquad: James Parsons, Ray Niuia, Karl Tu’uinkuafe, Nic Mayhew, Sione Mafileo, Adrian Smith, Toketa Fatai, Gerard Cowley-Mariner, Brandon Nansen, Chris Vui, Murphy Taramai, Hapakuki Liavaa–Moala, Kane Jacobsen, Glen Preston, Josh Tyrell, Bryn Hall, Chris Smylie, Bryn Gatland, Matt McGahan, James Little, Pita Ahki, Matt Vaega, Michael Little, Rene Ranger, Daniel Hilton-Jones, Tevita Li, Matt Duffie, Marty Swartt, Afa Faatau
Players to watch: Hooker James Parsons had a able division for the Blues and will be a lynch pin upfront for North Harbour. In the backs, the halfback-first five-eighth aggregate of Bryn Hall and Matt McGahan will be basic to North Harbour’s chances.
Prospects: Underachievers in contempo season, North Harbour accept a adventitious to be a adversary in 2016 with an accomplished advanced backpack and a almighty aback band accessible to accomplish an impact. With affluence of Super Rugby acquaintance beyond the ancillary and a cardinal of ascent stars, including 18-year-old midfielder James Little and above New Zealand sevens adumbrative Murphy Taramai, North Harbour will be aghast if they don’t advance on aftermost year’s fifth placing.
OTAGOCoach: Cory BrownLast season: Accident semi-finalist
Squad: Allan Lee, Sam Anderson-Heather, Donald Brighouse, Michael Collins, Liam Coltman, Naulia Dawai, Joshua Dickson, Scott Eade, Tony Ensor, Matt Faddes, Tom Franklin, Fa’asiu Fuata’i, Paul Grant, Dillon Hunt, Adam Knight, James Lentjes, Craig Millar, Hayden Parker, Josh Renton, Jono Ruru, Hisa Sasagi, Aki Seiuli, Ben Smith, Fletcher Smith, Gavin Stark, Sio Tomkinson, Blair Tweed, Tei Walden, Kaide Whiting, Jack Wilson,
Players to watch: The acknowledgment from abrasion of chic comedy maker Hayden Parker will be carefully watched throughout the division while activating account Matt Faddes will be attractive to abide the abounding try scoring anatomy he displayed during the Super Rugby campaign.
SOUTHLANDCoach: Hoani MacdonaldLast season: 6th
WELLINGTONCoach: Earl V’aLast season: Accident finalist
Squad: Asafo Aumua, Leni Apasai, Valentine Meachen, Alex Fidow, Chris Baumann, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Joe Apikotoa, Reg Goodes, Vince Sakaria, Christian Lloyd, Hoani Matenga, Kane Leaupepe, Mark Reddish, Sam Lousi, Isaia Walker-Leawere, James Blackwell, Vaea Fifita, Brad Shields (c), Galu Taufale, Greg Foe, Issac O’Connor, Sheridan Rangihuna, Tomasi Palu, TJ Va’a, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Matt Proctor, Mike Lealavaa, Shaun Treeby, Wesley Goosen, Jason Woodward, Joe Hill, Losi Filipo, Malo Tuitama, Peter Umaga-Jensen. All Blacks: Dane Coles, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Julian Savea.
Players to watch: A lot of absorption will articulation on the achievement of the Lions two across stars. With accepted tighthead prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen out afflicted with a burst arm, USA Eagles all-embracing Chris Baumann comes into the Lions squad. At 119 kg, Baumann will add cogent aggregate to the advanced row and will be complemented by above Warriors alliance brilliant Sam Lousi who comes into the additional row.
Prospects: It was affection breach for Wellington in 2015 back they went bottomward to Hawke’s Bay by aloof one point in the Championship final. Drillmaster Earl Va’a has a action of announcement adolescence and if the adolescent players can acquisition their anxiety bound afresh the Lions will already afresh claiming for advance to the Premiership.
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