Taranaki to build on Super Rugby exposure

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Lynn McConnell     08 Aug 2017     Getty Images

Signs are the side will be looking to make a similar push this year.

Lock Leighton Price said things were slowly building in Taranaki and a clearer picture would be painted as competition got underway.

On a personal level a call-up to the Blues halfway through the first round of the club season meant Price didn't get to see a lot of the local play, although that wasn't enough to prevent him basking in his Tukapa club side taking out the Taranaki championship for the second season.

While there were some new faces in the Taranaki squad the most compelling factor was 22 of the squad have Super Rugby experience.

"We'll be looking to call on them a fair bit through the season obviously but with that we've got some young guys that are pretty exciting too," he said.

There were some injury concerns in key positions but overall the situation was looking good.

There was disappointment with losing their semi-final last year but a longer term view was that it was at least a top four finish which was good for the side.

But the key for 2017 would be being clear in their expected roles, clear in their game plan and working hard for each other.

"That's something I think we've been able to do down in the 'naki and our coaching staff look after us pretty well and provide us with all the resources we need.

"It's just about us finding combinations early enough and just working hard for each other which is just something we need to grow. I don't think we need to work on it, it's just a case of keeping growing it," he said.

The opportunities first five-eighths Stephen Perofeta finally got with the Blues, and in the World Cup final for the New Zealand Under-20s, after a frustrating time with injuries was something Price was looking forward to seeing reflected in Taranaki's season.

"In my eyes he's a world-class player, he's pretty awesome and we'll obviously look to grow a fair bit of our game around him. He'll be a good driver for us, he's got a lot of time and the way he holds himself is brilliant. He'll be a good leader for us and we'll look to utilise his skills and his abilities a lot. He'll be a big plus for us this year," he said.

The side might be a little thin in locking stocks but what they do have will work hard and he was confident they would get some good results. They did have a Super Rugby front row and quality locks.

"We'll go all right, we'll go good there, we'll back ourselves.

"The big thing for me is that every year I'm getting a bit more confident and it'll be the same for most of the guys.

"It's an exciting competition and I'm looking forward to getting back into it and climbing into things and it's good to have the lads slowly coming back in and getting that good feel that we've got down there again and we just can't wait to hit the ground running," he said.