Head coach Clayton McMillan alongside his assistants Rodney Gibbs, David Hill and Damian Karauna have named their 32-man squad for the 2018 Mitre 10 Cup season.
The squad includes 12 Investec Super Rugby players, four current or former All Blacks, three All Blacks Sevens players, one current Maori All Black and two New Zealand Under 20’s players.
There will be several new faces joining the side including props Tom McHugh, Ross Geldenhyus and Tevita Mafileo. Te Puke Sports lock Kane Le’aupepe and Rangiuru Number 8 Hoani Matenga, will complete the new entrants in the forwards.
A selection of talented backs have also earned their spot including Te Puke Sports first five eight Jason Robertson, Rangataua winger Fa’asui Fuatai, Mount Maunganui Sports midfielder Joass Trael and Tauranga Sports utility back Kaleb Trask.
Bay of Plenty Steamers head coach Clayton McMillan is looking forward to seeing his squad build together over the coming weeks.
“I am really pleased with the squad we have assembled for our 2018 campaign, and in particular the number of returning players from what was a fairly successful last season.
“That familiarity and cohesiveness should not be underestimated when pulling a team together in short time frames post Super Rugby. That, in combination with the outstanding young talent coming through our Academy and club system, as well as the addition of some hardened and experienced professionals bodes well for an exciting season,” said McMillan.
McMillan said he is confident in their selection despite the loss of some key individuals.
“We acknowledge the loss of some experience overseas, particularly in the second row, but I am confident in the men we have selected and know each and every player will go to work for each other, our whanau, and the community we represent.”
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union CEO Mike Rogers said excitement was growing as the Mitre 10 Cup season draws closer.
“We are excited about the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup season. We are very motivated about continuing to grow as a Union and make our community proud both with our on field performances and our engagement in the community. Clayton and his management group have assembled a group that we think will play an exciting style of rugby that represents what the Bay of Plenty wants to see. I hope our community gets behind the team and takes the opportunity to enjoy getting along to a game and support the team.”
The Bay of Plenty Steamers will finish their pre-season in Katikati on Friday 10 August when they face Auckland. The side will kick off their 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign at Rotorua International Stadium on Saturday 18 August against Taranaki.
Nathan Harris – Te Puke Sports (29), Liam Polwart – Greerton Marist (14), Sabastian Siataga – Rotoiti (13)
Ross Geldenhyus – Papamoa (0), James Lay – Whakarewarewa (10), Tevita Mafileo – Tauranga Sports (0), Tom McHugh – Whakarewarewa (0), Aidan Ross – Te Puke Sports (24), Solomona Sakalia – Mount Maunganui (33), Jeff Thwaites – Te Puna (21)
Tyler Ardron – Papamoa (7), Kane Le’aupepe – Te Puke Sports (0), Baden Wardlaw – Rotoiti (1)
Hugh Blake – Te Puke Sports (15), Sam Cane – Tauranga Sports (19), Mitchell Karpik – Rangataua (6), Tanerau Latimer – Rangiuru (79)
Aileone Junior Lafaele-Mua (AJ) – Tauranga Sports (1), Hoani Matenga – Rangiuru (0)
Luke Campbell – Te Puke Sports (16), Richard Judd – Mount Maunganui (10)
Mike Delany – Mount Maunganui (72), Jason Robertson – Te Puke Sports (0)
Lalakai Foketi – Rangataua (30), Terrence Hepetema – Te Puna (19), Liam Steel – Mount Maunganui (4), Trael Joass – Mount Maunganui (0)
Matthew Garland – Whakarewarewa (3), Fa’asui Fuatai – Rangataua (0), Kaleb Trask – Tauranga Sports (0), Bailey Simonsson – Greerton Marist (0), Chase Tiatia – Rangataua (26)
Head Coach: Clayton McMillan
Assistant Coach: Rodney Gibbs
Assistant Coach: David Hill
Assistant Coach: Damian Karauna
Campaign Manager: Wayne Brill
Operations Manager: Herby Ngawhika
Physiotherapist: Paul Cameron
Strength and Conditioning Trainer: Brad Mayo
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Trainer: Thomas Stebbing
Video Analyst: Mark Roberts
*Denotes Steamers debut
() Denotes Steamers caps
Week 1: vs Taranaki at Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua – Saturday 18 August, 7.35pm
Week 2: vs Counties Manukau at Navigation Holmes Stadium, Pukekohe – Thursday 23 August, 7.35pm
Week 3: vs Canterbury at Tauranga Domain, Tauranga – Saturday 1 September, 2.35pm
Week 4: vs Hawke’s Bay at McLean Park, Napier – Saturday 8 September, 4.35pm
Week 5: vs North Harbour at QBE Stadium, Albany – Sunday 16 September, 2.05pm
Week 6: vs Waikato at Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua – Friday 21 September, 7.35pm
Week 7: vs Manawatu at Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua – Thursday 27 September, 7.35pm
Week 8: vs Otago at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin – Wednesday 3 October, 7.35pm
Week 8: vs Southland at Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill – Sunday 7 October, 2.05pm
Week 9: vs Northland at Tauranga Domain, Tauranga – Saturday 13 October, 2.35pm
Semi-finals: Friday 19 October – Saturday 20 October
Finals: Friday 26 October
Home games for 2018: Taranaki, Canterbury, Waikato, Manawatu and Northland
Away games for 2018: Counties Manukau, Hawke’s Bay, North Harbour, Otago and Southland