David Havili will captain a powerful Tasman Mako squad in the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup competition.
The All Black utility takes over the leadership role from former skipper Alex Ainley, who remains in the 31-man squad which was named today. Wyatt Crockett and Mitch Hunt are vice captains.
The Mako squad features several new faces. Along with the vastly-experienced Crockett, who returns to his home town, former North Harbour hooker Ray Niuia, Jed Brown, a hard-nosed Canterbury loosie, and Auckland loan player, flanker Sione Havili, are added to the forward mix.
With Shannon Frizell, Tim Perry and Liam Squire expected to play a big part in the All Blacks season, 19 forwards have been named, including former All Blacks prop Kane Hames. Injured Crusader and Mako player of the year in 2017, Jordan Taufua, has also been included.
There are also a couple of new faces in the backs – namely Chiefs fullback/wing Solomon Alaimalo and Leicester Faingaanuku, who teams up with big brother Tima.
Nineteen players who were involved in Super Rugby this season have been selected.
A 10-man wider squad has been named to cover injuries and form slumps, composed mainly of club players.
The Mako play their opening match on Friday evening, August 17, against Canterbury at Lansdowne Park, kick off 7.35pm.
Tasman Mako squad 2018
Wyatt Crockett (vice captain), Alex Ainley, Ethan Blackadder, Jed Brown, Ryan Coxon, Vernon Fredericks, Shannon Frizell, Kane Hames, Tyrel Lomax, Andrew Makalio, Ray Niuia, Pari Pari Parkinson, Tim Perry, Blair Prinsep, Isaac Salmon, Liam Squire, Quinten Strange, Jordan Taufua, Sione Havili.
David Havili (captain), Mitchell Hunt (vice captain), Solomon Alaimalo, Levi Aumua, Finlay Christie, Leicester Faingaanuku, Tima Faingaanuku, Billy Guyton, Will Jordan, Alex Nankivell, Rupena Parkinson, Tim O’Malley.
Coaches: Leon MacDonald, Andrew Goodman, Shane Christie and Clarke Dermody.
Tomas Aoake, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Mike Curry, Ben Finau, Jack Grooby, Willy Havili, Jesse MacDonald, Isaiah Miller, Fetuli Paea, Jamie Spowart.
By PETER JONES [Marlborough App]