Counties Manukau: PREVIEW 2020

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Position in 2019: Fourth

 

Talking points

Perennial top performers, Counties Manukau will undoubtedly push hard for a top two spot in the North Pool this season.

With arguably one of the best nine-10 combinations in Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu and Hazel Tubic, the Heat are expertly guided around the park and expect much of the same in 2020.

There is pace to burn in the backline with Lanulani Veainu, Waikohika Flesher, Emily Kitson and sevens star Ruby Tui among the outside backs that will have the ability to light up the competition

Upfront the experienced Leilani Perese and Aotearoa Matau combine as two of the strongest props in the competition. While the youthful excitement of Lisa Molia and the tenacious Larissa Lima combine in the loose forwards.

 

Incoming players
The most exciting addition to the Counties Manukau Heat in 2020 is the selection of World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Ruby Tui. Tui played her club rugby for Ponsonby in Auckland but moves south for Farah Palmer Cup. Mele Hufanga will debut for the Heat, after previously racking up 46 caps for Auckland and an impressive record of 16 tries in the 2015 season is the most by any player (male or female) in a domestic season.

 

Outgoing players

The Heat lose experience with Victoria Meki, Badinlee Munro-Smith and Shontelle Woodman all departing in 2020.

 

Player to watch

Teenager Lisa Molia had an impressive debut season for the Heat, she was awarded Most Improved player at the Counties Manukau awards and gained selection for the Black Ferns Development end of year campaign in Fiji. The 19-year-old is a dynamic loose forward X

 

Counties Manukau squad
Shaye Adams, Ngatokotoru Arakua, Glory Aiono, Utumalama Atonio, Juvina Auva'a, Aaliyah Brown, Stacey Brown, Rebecca Burch, Waikohika Flesher, Grace Gago, Taylah Hodson-Tomokino, Meli Hufanga, Emily Kitson, Cathy Leuta, Larissa Lima E Silva, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu, Aotearoa Matau, Ilisapeti (Lisa) Molia, Yuki Ono, Leilani Perese, Amiria Te Iringa, Harono Te Iringa, Shyanne Thompson, Ocean Tierney, Shonte To'a, Hazel Tubic, Ruby Tui, Azania Watene, Kararaina Wira-Kohu, Leititia Vaka, Katofoekina Veainu, Lanulani Veainu

 

Counties Manukau draw

Counties Manukau v North Harbour

Saturday 5 September

2.35pm Navigation Homes Stadium

 

Counties Manukau BYE

Saturday 12 September

 

Auckland v Counties Manukau

Sunday 20 September

2.05pm Eden Park

 

Counties Manukau v Northland
Sunday 27 September
2.05pm Navigation Homes Stadium

 

Waikato v Counties Manukau

Saturday 3 October

2.05pm Putaruru Rugby Club

 

Counties Manukau v Bay of Plenty

Saturday 10 October
2.35pm Navigation Homes Stadium

 

Taranaki v Counties Manukau

Saturday 17 October

2pm TET Stadium & Events Centre

 

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