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Tasman name powerful squad for 2019 campaign

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Friday, August 2, 2019    allblacks.com    Getty Images

For a side outside the four main centres that is a real plus but not surprising given the consistency Tasman have built up as being the best-performed side behind Canterbury in the last six or seven years.

Beaten by eventual winner Canterbury in last season's semifinal they will be looking to go better this year and achieve their second title under their coaching team of Andrew Goodman, Clarke Dermody, Shane Christie and Gray Cornelius.

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Goodman has stepped into the role vacated by long-standing local identity Leon MacDonald who moved on to Super Rugby coaching with the Blues this year.

The only notable players missing from last season's side are 93-game veteran Alex Ainley, who was restricted by injury to only two games, and Solomon Alaimalo, who has stayed in Hamilton to play for Waikato.

Back with the side is Joe Wheeler, an 80-game locking veteran for the side who has spent three seasons with Suntory. Atunaisa Moli has been included, dependent on All Blacks World Cup selection, and Hugh Roach from the Melbourne Rebels.

Roach, a hooker for Australia's Under-20 side in 2011-12, has played 41 games for the Waratahs from 2013-18 and played eight games for the Rebels this year

There is plenty of excitement in the squad from the attacking threat that Will Jordan will pose from fullback through the dangers of outside backs Leicester Faingaanuku, Levi Aumua, midfielders David Havili and Alex Nankivell, five-eighths Mitchell Hunt and lively halfback Finlay Christie.
Shannon Frizell, Liam Squire, Jordan Taufua and Ethan Blackadder offer plenty in the loose while the locking options of Pari Pari Parkinson, Quinten Strange and Wheeler are solid by provincial standards and up front there is the returning experience of Wyatt Crockett, and the potential of Moli, Tyrel Lomax, Tim Perry and Andrew Makalio.

The complete mix is exciting and one that should see Tasman emerge as one of the most competitive sides in the Premiership this year.

The Tasman squad is:

Levi Aumua, Ethan Blackadder, Finlay Christie, Ryan Coxon, Wyatt Crockett, Leicester Faingaanuku, Shannon Frizell, David Havili, Mitchell Hunt, William Jordan, Tyrel Lomax, Andrew Makalio, Atunaisa Moli, Alex Nankivell, Timothy O'Malley, Pari Pari Parkinson, Rupena Parkinson, Timothy Perry, Blair Prinsep, Hugh Roach, Isaac Salmon, Liam Squire, Quinten Strange, Jordan Taufua, Sione Talitui (Havili), Joe Wheeler.

Last season: Losing Premiership semifinalist
Management: Coaches - Andrew Goodman, Clarke Dermody, Shane Christie, Gray Cornelius
Notable gains: Joe Wheeler (Suntory), Atunaisa Moli (Waikato), Hugh Roach (Melbourne Rebels)
Notable losses: Alex Ainley (Bay of Plenty), Solomon Alaimalo (Waikato)