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Blues name 30-man development squad

theblues.co.nz     26 Feb 2014    


Headed by new High Performance Manager Tony Hanks, the team will be coached by Steve Jackson with assistants Paul Feeney and Bevan Cadwallader.

The programme will see the Blues Development team compete in a three match series against their Chiefs counterparts and two matches against the New Zealand Under 20s and the Cook Island international team.

“The programme has been spread out this year across four months which allows us to integrate their development objectives with the players’ provincial union and club rugby programmes,” said Hanks.

“It also presents the possibility of bringing players into the squad who have been performing well at club level.”

Several of the players have already had a taste of the Blues environment, being involved in the new apprenticeship programme during the pre-season.

“A number of these guys have been exposed to the Blues culture and expectations already, and the Development XV programme provides the players' another opportunity to impress the Blues coaches ,” said Hanks.

The development team features 30 players from across Northland, North Harbour and Auckland, 17 of whom have ITM Cup experience. Nine players have trained with the Blues in the pre season under the apprenticeship programme. On top of this, four players in the squad are also members of the 2014 New Zealand Under 20 squad.

“We want this programme to be a really valuable experience for both the players and coaches, it’s an opportunity for all of them.”

The squad will assemble for their first training on March 3rd, with a team named for their first match on March 11th.

Greg Pleasants-Tate (North Harbour)
Fraser Armstrong (Auckland)
Ropate Rinakawa (North Harbour)
Namatahi Waa (Auckland)
Matt Moulds (Northland)
Gafatasi Su’a (Auckland)
Ray Niuia (North Harbour)
Scott Scrafton (Auckland)
Sean Brookman (Auckland)
William Lloyd (Auckland)
Brandon Nansen (North Harbour)
Sean Polwart (Auckland)
Dan Pryor (Northland)
Zac Judge (North Harbour)
Jordan Manihera (North Harbour)
Dillon Wihongi (North Harbour)
So’otala Fa’aso’o (Auckland)
Sonetane Takulua (Northland)
Leon Fukofuka (Auckland)
Nalu Tuigamala (North Harbour)
Matt McGahan (North Harbour)
Daniel Hawkins (Northland)
Mitchell Hunt (Auckland)
TJ Faiane (Auckland)
Michael Little (North Harbour)
Matt Vaega (Auckland)
Vince Aso (Auckland)
Jonie Makalai (Northland)
Melani Nanai (Auckland)
Marty Swart (North Harbour)

Thursday March 13th
Blues Development v Chiefs Development
Venue and kick off tbc

Wednesday April 2nd
Blues Development v Chiefs Development
Venue and kick off tbc

Thursday May 1st
Blues Development v Chiefs Development
Venue and kick off tbc

Friday May 23rd
Blues Development v New Zealand Under 20
Venue and kick off tbc

Wednesday June 18th
Blues Development v Cook Islands
Venue and kick off tbc