Old faces, and new, are among the 26-man Farriers Wairarapa-Bush squad named to play Hawke’s Bay at Park Island in Napier on Queen’s Birthday Monday.
Two of local club rugby’s elder statesmen, Tavita Isaac and Kingi Kaiwai, have been given the nod, while at the other end of the spectrum, youngsters Bryan Arnold and Ryan Hargood get an early call up.
Both Arnold and Hargood are in contention for the Hurricanes Under-18 squad. Hargood packs down in the front row for Marist, with Arnold playing at half-back for East Coast.
Other new faces include Pioneer trio Reece Calkin, Nikora Ewe and Joseph Thompson, Marist speedster Soli Malatai, and Gladstone loose forward Scott Harpham.
Thompson has been in scintillating form for Pioneer following on from a strong season in 2016.
All eight premier one clubs are represented in the squad. Gladstone, Greytown, Marist and Pioneer have the most with four each.
Head coach Joe Harwood says the squad has been picked on form, rather than reputation. There are several obvious first choice selections missing due to unavailability.
Harwood says the match is an opportunity for players to really push their case for inclusion in the Heartland squad.
The match will be Wairarapa-Bush’s only hit out until after the completion of the club season at the end of July.
The selection of Isaac and Kaiwai has been a longtime coming. Both are pivotal players for their club and have been instrumental in the success Greytown has had in recent years.
Having previously played in the midfield, Isaac has since switched to No.8 where his high work rate and skill-set has made him one of the form players in the Moose Kapene Cup.
Kaiwai’s versatility means that he can slot in at most positions in the backline. His regular spot for Greytown in 2017 is at second-five eighth.
Although new to the club season, Martinborough midfielder Armyn Sanders was in the representative mix last year as a potential loan player, but was dropped for the Heartland Championship campaign.
|Farriers Wairarapa-Bush SQUAD:|
|Bryan Arnold||East Coast|
|Epeli Rayaqayapa||East Coast|
The player are asked to assemble at the Marist Grounds 6.15pm on Wednesday 17 May.