The Tasman Makos coaches and management have named a squad of 32 players to contest the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup Premiership. The team is split between 17 forwards and 15 backs and will be captained by Shane Christie.
There is a good balance of experience – 16 players with Super Rugby experience – and freshness, with 12 new faces.
The team will be coached by Leon MacDonald with assistance from Mark Hammett and Andrew Goodman. The team manager is Martyn Vercoe.
New faces named in 2016 Tasman Makos
Jesse MacDonald (Central – 18 caps), Andrew Makalio (Harlequins *)
Siosiua Halanukonuka (Highlanders - 32), Kane Hames (Chiefs - 4), Tom Hill (Stoke *), Ross Geldenhuys (Highlanders - 21), Tim Perry (Crusaders - 39), Blair Prinsep (Christchurch *)
Alex Ainley (Highlanders - 72), Shannon Frizell (Marist *), Jeff Lepa Waimea Old Boys - 3), Quinten Strange (Nelson *)
Shane Christie (C) (Highlanders - 63), Vernon Fredericks (Moutere - 42), Tevita Koloamatangi (Chiefs - 33), Pete Samu (Crusaders - 18), Liam Squire (Highlanders - 38)
Billy Guyton (Blues - 31), Finlay Christie (Christchurch *)
FIRST - FIVES
Marty Banks (Highlanders - 30), Mitchell Hunt (Crusaders *), Tim O'Malley (Waitohi *)
Kieron Fonotia (Crusaders - 54), David Havili (Crusaders - 21), Trael Joass (Wanderers - 5), Alex Nankivell (Stoke - 5)
Richard Kingi (East Coast *), Viliami Lolohea (Sunwolves - 8), James Lowe (Chiefs - 30), Josh Tafili (Wanderers *), Tima Faingaanuku (Nelson *), Jesse Pitman-Joass (Wanderers *).
(* = new cap)
The team also features two players who represented their country in 2015 – back row Liam Squire for the All Blacks and lock Jeff Lepa for Manu Samoa. Prop Kane Hames was called into the 2016 All Blacks wider training group. Lock Quentin Strange represented the NZ Under 20’s this year. Richard Kingi played a Test for Australia in 2009.
The team features the Makos third pair of brothers to play for the team – Trael Joass and Jesse Pitman-Joass – who follow the footsteps of James and Tom Marshall who played together in the 2010 and 2011 seasons and Quentin & Jesse MacDonald (2014-2015).
Tasman Rugby Union and player Zac Guildford have agreed to part ways meaning he has not been included in the Makos’ squad for the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup. CEO Tony Lewis said today: “Due to the nature of our agreements with Zac, we are unable to comment further on any aspect of this. We wish Zac well for his future endeavours.”