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12 new caps for Counties-Manukau

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016    Counties Manukau    Getty Images

The squad includes 12 new players, with New Zealand Under 20’s representatives Jonathan Taumateine and Orbyn Leger among the new faces. Former New Zealand Secondary Schools captain Sootala Fa’aso’o is included in the squad alongside returning Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot.

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The squad includes a number of Investec Super Rugby and New Zealand Sevens players; Jimmy Tupou, Jordan Taufua, Piers Francis, Sam Vaka, Toni Pulu and Sione Fifita. Augustine Pulu, Sione Molia and Sonny Bill Williams will join the squad at the conclusion of the Rio Olympics. Sevens veteran Sherwin Stowers will line up for the Steelers in 2016.

The squad has been hit hard by injury throughout the Super Rugby season. Chiefs props Nepo Laulala and Pauliasi Manu, loose forwards Maama Vaipulu and Sam Henwood as well as Chiefs outside back Glen Fisi’iahi are all contracted to the Steelers but all unavailable due to injury.

Head coach Darryl Suasua is excited about the squad he has.

“The number of season-ending injuries has provided opportunities for players who have performed well in our club competition. The real challenge for us this season will be adjusting to the new laws at the Mitre 10 Cup level. Most provinces have adopted to the new laws during their club seasons, where as we have played club under the old rules. A big work on will be adjusting to the tackle ball laws between now and the start of the competition. We’re looking forward to competing well this season.”

2016 Steelers Mitre 10 Cup Squad

Jarred Adams (Prop) Pukekohe *
Sam Aiono (Prop) Bombay
Sean Bagshaw (Prop) Onewhero
Nathan De Thierry (First Five-Eighth) Pukekohe
Hika Elliot (Hooker)
Sootala Fa’aso’o (Loose Forward) North Shore *
Sione Faletau (Prop) Patumahoe *
Sione Fifita (Outside Back) Pukekohe
Piers Francis (First Five-Eighth) Bombay
Joseph Ikenasio (Midfield) Ardmore Marist
Richard Judd (Halfback) Onewhero
Luteru Laulala (Outside Back) Ardmore Marist *
Orbyn Leger (Midfield) Karaka *
Fotu Lokotui (Loose Forward) Patumahoe *
Matiaha Martin (Lock) Bombay *
Sione Molia (Outside Back) Karaka *
Augustine Pulu (Halfback) Karaka
Toni Pulu (Outside) Bombay
Viliame Rarasea (Lock) Ardmore Marist
Joe Reynolds (Outside Back) Pukekohe *
Cameron Skelton (Lock) Pukekohe *
Sherwin Stowers (Outside Back) Ardmore Marist
Gafatasi Su’a (Hooker) Pukekohe
Suliasi Taufalele (Hooker) Ardmore Marist
Jordan Taufua (Loose Forward) Ardmore Marist
Viliami Taulani (Loose Forward) Patumahoe
Jonathan Taumateine (Halfback) Ardmore Marist *
Kalolo Tuiloma (Prop) Bombay *
Jimmy Tupou (Lock) Patumahoe
Cardiff Vaega (Midfield) Karaka
Sam Vaka (Midfield) Bombay
Sonny Bill Williams (Midfield)

Five players who are contracted, but unavailable due to injury:
Glen Fisi’iahi (Outside Back) Bombay *
Sam Henwood (Loose Forward) Pukekohe
Nepo Laulala (Prop) Ardmore Marist *
Pauliasi Manu (Prop) Karaka
Maama Vaipulu (Loose Forward) Pukekohe

Players contracted for pre-season:
Harry Fitzsimons (Loose Forward) Karaka
Kalione Hala (Outside Back) Karaka *
Lolohea Loco (Outside Back) Ardmore Marist