The Waikato team has been named for its opening ITM Cup match against the Bay of Plenty.
Nathan White starts his campaign as captain in the tight head prop position. White combines with Toby Smith at loose head prop and experienced hooker Aled de Malmanche, who will play his 101 first class game.
Experienced lock Toby Lynn joins up with New Zealand Maori representative Romana Graham to make up the tight five.
In the loose forward trio returning to the Waikato team, number 8 Steven Setephano starts with All Black Liam Messam on the blind side and Jack Lam on the openside flank.
In the Waikato backline, vice captain Brendon Leonard will start at halfback, with former New Zealand Under 20 representative Trent Renata starting in the number 10 jersey. Brumbies Super14 player and rookie to the Waikato team Christian Lealiifano will debut in the red, yellow and black hoops at fullback.
“The Steamers are an attacking team and will be a challenge but we are confident we have the 22 players to do the work”, said Waikaton coach Chris Gibbes.
Waikato takes on Bay of Plenty in week one of the ITM Cup at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton on Saturday 31 July.
Waikato: Toby Smith, Aled de Malmanche, Nathan White, Romana Graham, Toby Lynn, Liam Messam, Jack Lam, Steven Setephano, Brendon Leonard, Trent Renata, Dwayne Sweeney, Jackson Willison, Save Tokula, Sosene Anesi, Christian Lealiifano.
Reserves: Vern Kamo, Hikairo Forbes, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Matt Vant Leven, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Henry Speight, Tim Mikkelson
source: newshub archive