Sportal.co.nz 08.Aug.2012Getty Images
Craig Philpott said the coaching team was surrounded by plenty of people who had been involved in Hawke's Bay rugby in recent seasons and that had helped make the changeover seamless.
But the new administration had spent a lot of time watching club rugby while also looking to fill gaps from elsewhere.
Notable among the side's losses were props Sona Taumalolo and Anthony Perenise, locks Bryn Evans and Brodie Retallick.
Former Canterbury front rower Peter Borlase has joined the side from Munster. And the region had retained Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna. They will be joined up front by Brendon Edmunds, a product of Waipukurau who had a taste at this level in last season's final against Manawatu.
It would be a challenge in the set pieces because five props and two locks had gone from last year's side but with Tameifuna and Hika Elliot as cornerstones the base was there. While Ash Dixon had returned to the Bay from Auckland. In lineout play the experienced Ross Kennedy would be crucial to developing younger players.
Karl Lowe would be significant in the loose while having Tivaini Fomai injury-free would be a boost and there was still the experience of Adam Bradey to call on as well.
Andrew Horrell is also returning after making a massive contribution to the Chiefs' Super Rugby success and he would be looked at as a second five-eighths by the Bay. Inside him the side will have a choice of Daniel Waenga and Ihaia West, the New Zealand Under-20s No.10.
Gillies Kaka will fill the fullback's role in partnership with Canterbury based New Zealand Universities representative Nathan McLennan.
The side had a warm-up match with Waikato, a close contest, which he described as 'a reasonable hit out'. And they will open the ITM Cup by hosting Auckland on Thursday, August 23.