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ITM Cup Squad Announced 2014

Auckland ITM Cup squad announced


Auckland head coach Paul Feeney has named a 34-man squad for the 2014 ITM Cup.
The squad boasts a strong number of Super Rugby players alongside eight debutants. Gareth Anscombe and Ben Lam return after sitting out the 2013 season through injury and will be joined in the backline by Francis Saili who last played for Auckland in 2011.
There are seven current All Blacks in the squad.

Feeney said it was pleasing to be able to name a strong squad in his first season as head coach.
“The core of this squad has been together for a few seasons now so we have experience across the park. 
“We’ve got an exciting blend with those experienced players alongside a number of young guys who are getting their first opportunity at this level,” said Feeney.

Nick Barrett and Fraser Armstrong join the squad after previous campaigns with Southland and Waikato respectively, while Barrett has just completed a season with the Chiefs in Super Rugby.

“We lost two Super Rugby props from last season but these new guys will relish the chance and players like Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Sam Prattley will have the opportunity to secure a starting position.”Feeney said the group of debutants have all impressed at club rugby this season.

“We’re in the situation where a large number of our players are involved with Super Rugby so don’t play a lot of club rugby. In those other positions we have been able to reward players for their form at club level.
“Blake Gibson was in outstanding form for Ponsonby this season before his injury, and players like Airi Hunt and Scott Scrafton have been very impressive,” said Feeney.

Three players, Simon Hickey, TJ Faiane and Leon Fukofuka, were members of the New Zealand Under 20 team earlier this year, while Faiane and Blake Gibson are both graduates of the 2013 New Zealand Schools team.

Those not considered due to injury were Luke Braid (shoulder) and Sean Brookman (knee).
The team assemble next week ahead of a pre-season game against Northland next Friday. 

The 2014 Auckland squad is: 

Props

Charlie Faumuina (Papatoetoe – Papatoetoe College)

Sam Prattley (Pakuranga – Nelson College)

Ofa Tu’ungafasi (Grammar TEC – Mangere College)

Nic Barrett (Central Southland College)

Fraser Armstrong (Pakuranga – Hamilton Boys High School)

Hookers

Keven Mealamu (Papatoetoe – Aorere College)

Tom McCartney (Pakuranga – Howick College)

Gafatasi Su’a (Ponsonby – Mt Albert Grammar)

Locks

Patrick Tuipulotu (Ponsonby – St Peters)

Liaki Moli (Manukau Rovers – St Pauls)

Jack Whetton (Grammar TEC – Rosmini College)

Scott Scrafton (Grammar TEC – St Kentigerns)

William Lloyd (Marist – Orewa College)

Loose Forwards

Jerome Kaino (University – St Kentigerns)

Steven Luatua (University – Mt Albert Grammar)

Joe Edwards (Pakuranga – St Kentigerns)

Airi Hunt (Waitemata)

Peter Saili (Marist – St Peters)

Sean Polwart (University – Sacred Heart)

Nepia Fox-Matamua (University – St Peters)

Blake Gibson (University – St Kentigerns)

Halfbacks

Wayne Ngaluafe (Ponsonby – Kelston Boys)

Leon Fukofuka (Marist – Kelston Boys)

First Five Eighths

Simon Hickey (Grammar TEC – Kings)

Gareth Anscombe (Ponsonby – Rosmini)

Midfield

Malakai Fekitoa (Pakuranga – Wesley College)

Francis Saili (Marist – St Peters)

Hadleigh Parkes (Grammar TEC – Palmerston North Boys)

George Moala (Grammar TEC – Tamaki College)

TJ Faiane (Pakuranga – St Kentigerns)

Outside Backs

Charles Piutau (Pakuranga – Wesley College)

Ben Lam (Grammar TEC – St Peters)

Lolagi Visinia (Suburbs – Kelston Boys)

Vince Aso (Ponsonby – St Peters)