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Canterbury team named for North Otago Shield clash

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Canterbury is set to unleash a new crop of the region’s talent, with 14 possible debutants named in the match day 23 to take on North Otago in their first Ranfurly Shield defence of 2020.

While there are plenty of fresh faces in the line-up, the home side will be led by 11-year veteran Luke Romano, who will captain the side for the first time.

Props Finlay Brewis and Tamaiti Williams get their first crack in the red and black, so too New Zealand Under-20 representative Fletcher Newell and former Taranaki anchor Scott Mellow.

Romano will be partnered with 2.03m tower Sam Darry in the engine room, earning his first Canterbury cap along with blindside flanker Liam Allen. New Zealand Sevens star Andrew Knewstubb, former Taranaki speedster Manasa Mataele, and Chay Fihaki make up the back three, while Darry’s former Christs College teammate Isaiah Punivai will wear the number 13 jersey.

Zach Gallagher, Luke Donaldson, Bill Fukofuka and Cameron Bailey are also in line to make their first appearances in Canterbury colours.

‘’We’re really excited,’’ said Coach Mark Brown.

"Many of these guys have been rewarded with their opportunity due to form at club level. It’s been a short preparation, but they’ve come together well this week. We know North Otago will come with plenty of fight, so our guys will need to be on their toes.’’ Brown added.

Fellow coach Reuben Thorne said ‘’while plenty of young guys get an opportunity, it’s great to have someone like Luke there to captain the side too.’’

‘’We’ve also got the likes of Cullen Grace back for his second year and returning from a great start in Super Rugby, Dallas Mcleod, Billy Harmon and the rest of the crew have proven to be very reliable too.’’

Canterbury Team to play North Otago:

Position No / Name

1 FINLAY BREWIS-

2 BRODIE MCALISTER

3 TAMAITI WILLIAMS-

4 LUKE ROMANO ©

5 SAM DARRY-

6 LIAM ALLEN-

7 BILLY HARMON

8 CULLEN GRACE

9 EREATARA ENARI

10 BRETT CAMERON

11 MANASA MATAELE-

12 DALLAS MCLEOD

13I SAIAH PUNIVAI-

14 CHAY FIHAKI-

15 ANDREW KNEWSTUBB-

16 SHILO KLEIN

17 SCOTT MELLOW-

18 FLETCHER NEWELL-

19 ZAC GALLAGHER-

20 BILL FUKOFUKA-

21 LUKE DONALDSON-

22 RAMEKA POIHIPI

23 CAMERON BAILEY-

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