Wanganui Under 20 rep rugby team finally play at home

Dale Akuhata and his Wanganui Under 20 team will enjoy the chance to play a representative game on home soil on Saturday.

It’s been a couple of years, but the Wanganui Under 20 representative rugby team will finally get to show home supporters what they can do when the Hurricanes Development Series kicks off against Poverty Bay U20 tomorrow.

Having three-peated as series champions, Wanganui games in the previous years have all been played in Palmerston North and Gisborne respectively, but tomorrow’s match with Poverty Bay is a turnaround from last year, allowing Wanganui to play at Spriggens Park.

Under new coach Danny Tamehana, replacing Jerome McCrea who has moved up to guide the Wanganui Development XV, another strong squad has been named with several selections from Tasman Tanning Premier club rugby sides, along with members of the Manawatu Colts title-winning St Johns Club Whanganui Metro.

Unfortunately the group that trained on Wednesday has seen a few key withdrawals as Mitchell Millar and Jack Kinder, the Premier title winners with McCarthy’s Transport Ruapehu, are unavailable due to New Zealand touch rugby honours and working outside the region respectively, while Wanganui Car Centre Kaierau’s Sam Beard has headed overseas.

However, Ruapehu’s grand final hat-trick scorer Shaquille Waara is back for another campaign of Under 20s, while Metro’s stars David Mariner, Emanual Savage, Chris Ferguson and Desmond Tyrell will look to continue their good form.

“I’m quite happy with [the team]. I’m looking forward to it,” said Tamehana.

After tomorrow’s game, Wanganui will face the Horowhenua-Kapiti U20s next Saturday in what is supposed to be a double header with a Sunday match – traditionally against Wairarapa Bush – however that fixture remains up in the air.

The best players will then be selected for the Heartland Hurricanes Under 20s, in their second year of existence, with Wanganui having 10 chosen in last year’s inaugural squad.

“For the boys, it’s a great opportunity for the Under 20 grade to go for further honours,” said Tamehana.

Kickoff at Spriggens Park is 1pm.

The squad is
Aaron Chapman, AJ Newtown, Ashton Coates, Beau Walker, Chris Ferguson, Cullen Noble, Dale Akuhata, Dante Rooney, David Mariner, Desmond Tyrell, Devon Gower, Emanual Savage, Hamish Broadhead, Ihaka Te Paki, Jamie Lee Robertson, Jason Myers, Jesse Tamou, Jonty Curtis, Kohlt Coveny, Louis Devine, Luke Foster, Maikara Kereopa, Mairangi Tamehana, Phoenix Kairimu, Shaquille Waara, Sheldon Pakinga-Manhire, Tiari Tokotaua-Mumby, Tom Gibson, Tom Matthews, Tony Henry.

Wanganui Chronicle
By: Jared Smith