8000 reasons to support the Counties Manukau Steelers

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Thursday, August 8, 2019    Getty Images

The Steelers have attracted internationals and foreign professionals from around the globe, while they also welcome back All Blacks Sonny Bill Williams and Nepo Laulala for the first part of their Mitre-10 Cup campaign.

There are 8000 good reasons for Steelers fans to flock to Navigation Homes Stadium in Pukekohe on Saturday afternoon for their competition opener against Taranaki, with home fans getting the chance to potentially watch their All Blacks in action along with their new foreign players.

There is added incentive for local fans with the Counties Manukau Rugby Union embarking on an innovative marketing campaign for Saturday’s game.

If they sell 8,000 tickets to Saturday’s clash against Taranaki, then those ticket holders will get free season memberships which will entitle them to watch the remainder of the Steelers regular season home games for free.

“This year, we have undertaken a number of initiatives to give back to our community. The purpose of the 8,000 initiative is to encourage our community to come together in force to enjoy a family-friendly afternoon of rugby and we want to reward our supporters for their loyalty with free entry to the Steelers home games” said Barton Hoggard, CEO of Counties Manukau Rugby. 

“We want to recreate the glory days when the Steelers Mitre 10 Cup home games were the biggest events of the year in the Counties Manukau region. To achieve this, we need to make it as easy as possible to attract big crowds and then we need to deliver a top-quality rugby experience. Prior to the game, we are having a junior club march past, the club under 85kg final and bouncy castles for the kids. We are also hosting our referees in a marquee on the field to thank them for their contribution to Counties Manukau Rugby” said Counties Manukau chief executive, Bart Hoggard.

“They just have to buy a ticket for Saturday and get the next four home games free if we get to 8,000. How good is that?
“Saturday’s game is a 4.35pm kickoff so that’s exciting for the whole family to come along. The team will be named tomorrow (Friday) but we have an exciting squad with some new, quality internationals and we will get to see Sonny in action in his bid to secure his place in the All Blacks for the World Cup.”

The Steelers have attracted Australian midfielder Andrew Kellaway, a former Australian Under-20 star, who has played 25 times for the Waratahs and currently plays for Northampton Saints in the English Championship.

There is an international look upfront with Irish prop Conan O’Donnell, originally from Pro-12 and Champions Cup side Connacht and currently with the Sunwolves this season. He is joined upfront by Australian Tim Metcher, formerly from the Randwick club and a former Rebels player who is now in the USA with Seattle Seawolves.

Like Kellaway, he is a former Australian Under-20 representative.

There is real interest in the appearance of Kirisi Kuridrani, a former under-20 rep for Australia and Fiji, who has 25 caps for the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby and latterly from Honda Heat in the Japan competition.

Malgene Ilaua, an ex Kelston Boys product, is another to come from Japan, playing with Toshiba and the Sunwolves and now among the loose forwards at the Steelers. Malgene turned out for the Papakura Rugby Club this season.
Talented lock Samuel Slade joins the Steelers, having played for Pukekohe Rugby Club this season. Sam has played for Manawatu, with the 21-year-old a former Blues Under-20 player as well as New Zealand Schools and New Zealand Under-20 player.

“While we continue to develop our own talent, we have been thrilled to attract an array of international players with experience and we are confident they will add considerably to the Steelers campaign and will assist with the development of our local players.”

“So all rugby fans in Counties Manukau region should head to Pukekohe on Saturday afternoon, join the 8000, and help support the Steelers in their Mitre-10 Cup campaign.”

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