Waikato coach Tony Hanks today announced the 2008 Waikato Air New Zealand Cup squad.
The 28-strong squad includes 13 new players this season.
Hanks said: “it is set to be an exciting season ahead with a number of new faces and combinations in our squad. There is a good mix of experience and youth within this squad with all of the players chosen on form shown at club and representative levels.”
“Our new signings will certainly bring in experience which we have lost due to a number of players going overseas or retiring from last year. The likes of Callum Bruce, Kevin O’Neill, Tom Harding, Faifili Levave and Oli Avei may not have had much time in the red, yellow and black jersey, but their rugby form and experience leading into this campaign is extensive and solid. I’m confident they will thrive in the Waikato environment.”
The 13 new players to the Waikato squad this year include nine new forwards and four new backs.
The new forwards are Hikairo Forbes (prop), Josh Hohneck (prop), Oli Avei (hooker), Romana Graham (lock), Kevin O’Neill (lock), Matt Blain (loose forward), Tom Harding (loose forward), Faifili Levave (loose forward), Jordon Smiler (loose forward).
The new backs are Callum Bruce (first five-eighth), Trent Renata (first five-eighth/fullback), Tim Mikkelson (wing), and Henry Speight (wing).
Messam, who has played 50 games for the Mooloos, will be the new Waikato captain.
“Liam personifies what we all about in the Waikato. He is committed, loyal and driven to be successful. Liam will do a great job and he will be well supported by senior players such as pre-season captains Toby Lynn and Sosene Anesi.”
In addition to the announcement of the Waikato Air New Zealand Cup squad, Hanks also named seven Elite Academy players.
Hanks enters into his first season as Head Coach of the Waikato Air New Zealand Cup team. He is no stranger to the Waikato environment having been Assistant Coach to Warren Gatland for the past three seasons. He will be assisted by Chris Gibbes, who is a former Assistant Coach to the Japan national team in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and former Waikato B and Hawke’s Bay rugby representative. Stewart Williams is the team manager.
The 2008 Waikato Air New Zealand Cup squad is:
Forwards: Aled de Malamanche (Hamilton Old Boys), Hikairo Forbes (Hautapu), Josh Hohneck (Fraser Tech), Nathan White (Te Awamutu Sports), Craig West (Hamilton Old Boys), Oli Avei, Vern Kamo (Fraser Tech), Kent Fife (Hautapu), Romana Graham (Hautapu), Toby Lynn (Te Rapa), Kevin O’Neill (Hamilton Marist), Matt Blain (Hautapu), Tom Harding (Melville), Faifili Levave (Melville), Liam Messam (Hautapu), Jordan Smiler (Hautapu).
Backs: Malcolm Barnes (Hamilton Old Boys), David Bason (Hautapu), Callum Bruce (Hamilton Marist), Trent Renata (Hamilton Marist), Roimata Hansell-Pune (Fraser Tech), Dwayne Sweeney (Morrinsville Sports), Watene Waenga (Hamilton Marist), Jackson Willison (Hautapu), James Kamana (Fraser Tech), Tim Mikkelson (University), Henry Speight (Hamilton Old Boys), Sosene Anesi (Hamilton Marist).
Waikato Rugby Union media release
source: newshub archive