Mitre 10 Cup Preview: Counties Manukau Steelers

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Coach: Tai Lavea

Home ground: Navigation Homes Stadium

2019: Seventh in Premiership (relegated to Championship)

 

Talking points

It’s a new-look Counties Manukau side in 2020 to the one which conceded nine losses last year to finish bottom of the Premiership. While the signing of Kieran Read has captured the headlines, the South Auckland-based team has made several other key signings on the field and one major one off it. Tai Lavea will coach the Steelers for the first time in 2020 and comes with big wraps after being involved in the Auckland coaching set-up for the last two years and previously leading St Kentigern College to five 1A titles in seven years. Impressive loose forward Dalton Papalii is quality acquisition for the side while the return of first five-eighth Baden Kerr after a couple of seasons in Japan will further enhance a backline full of game-breaking talent.

 

Player to watch

Aged just 21-years-old, Etene Nanai-Seturo is already a proven star on the sevens stage and has shown glimpses of his talent for the Chiefs at Super Rugby level. With plenty of day-time fixtures and dry weather expected during spring, the stage is set for Nanai-Seturo to display his attacking flair out wide for the Steelers. Blessed with blistering pace, an elusive step and pin-point finishing ability, Nanai-Seturo

 

Counties Manukau squad

Suetena Asomua, Joseph Casey, Pelefofoga Cowley, Lyndon Dunshea, Sione Fifita, Penisoni Fineanganofo, Nikolai Foliaki, Latiume Fosita, Kalione Hala, Jarrod Halliday, Leigh Hughes, Jonathan Kawau, Baden Kerr, Kirisi Kuridrani, Luteru Laulala, Nepo Laulala, Potu Leavasa, Orbyn Leger, Dylan Letner, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Donald Maka, Clinton Malolua, Matiaha Martin, Ioane Moananu, Sione Molia, Alamanda Motuga, Tevita Nabura, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Conan O’Donnell, Dalton Papalii, Kieran Read, Jason Robertson, Cameron Roigard, Samuel Slade, Ryan Stewart, Viliami Taulani, Jonathan Taumateine, Zuriel Togiatama, Mickey Woolliams

 

Counties Manukau draw

 

Counties Manukau v Tasman

Saturday 12 September

7.05pm, Navigation Homes Stadium

 

Hawke’s Bay v Counties Manukau

Sunday 20 September

2.05pm, McLean Park, Napier

 

Counties Manukau v Northland

Sunday 27 September

4.35pm, Navigation Homes Stadium

Counties Manukau v Manawatu

Saturday 3 October

2.05pm, Navigation Homes Stadium

 

Waikato v Counties Manukau

Saturday 10 October

7.05pm, FMG Stadium Waikato

 

Otago v Counties Manukau

Sunday 18 October

2.05pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium

 

Counties Manukau v Wellington

Sunday 25 October

2.05pm, Navigation Homes Stadium

 

Taranaki v Counties Manukau

Sunday 1 November

4.35pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

 

North Harbour v Counties Manukau

Saturday 7 November

North Harbour Stadium, Hamilton

 

Counties Manukau v Southland

Friday 13 November

7.05pm, Navigation Homes Stadium

 

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