NPC: North Harbour reward club form

By Campbell Burnes

North Harbour halfback Bryn Hall.
North Harbour halfback Bryn Hall.

North Harbour has announced a Mitre 10 Cup squad that has rewarded club form and should push hard for the Championship semifinals.

"This squad has been selected on club form, with a number of players forcing their way into our thinking based on their individual performances week after week. There are always tough selectorial decisions, but, to be honest, these guys made it pretty easy on us - as they have trained hard away from the spotlight and performed consistently on the field at club level every Saturday," said North Harbour coach Steve Jackson.

There are eight new faces for North Harbour in 2016 and two that are welcomed back.

Halfback Chris Smylie (49 caps) and loose forward Glen Preston (4 caps) are the two returning players and both have been playing in Italy.

"It is great to have these guys back in the fold. The experience they bring back to Harbour will be invaluable in a competition as intense and demanding as this," says Jackson.

Of the new faces, three have come up from the Waikato - Bryn Gatland, Josh Tyrell and Kane Jacobson have all settled in the region and have been a big part of the success of the Takapuna club this season.

Another new face, Toketa Fatai, has been impressive for the East Coast Bays' front-row and is certainly one that put his hand up to get in this squad this year.

Both Afa Fa'atau and Matt Duffie signed with the Blues this year, the latter getting significant game time throughout the season.

Former All Blacks Sevens rep Murphy Taramai who has been in outstanding club form and joins the group from Wellington.

Another exciting addition is the North Shore midfield pairing of James Little (still just 18) and Daniel Hilton-Jones, who have formed a strong combination at club level.

Jackson reserves a special comment for Marty Swart: "It is great to have Marty Swart in our fold. Marty has had a challenging time with injuries over the past two years that have seen him twice sidelined before he even got started. We all hope it is third time lucky for this promising outside back."

"I would also personally thank our premier club coaches for their work with our players during the season, and particularly for their support in implementing the new law trials (at premier club level) that will be used during the Mitre 10 Cup.

The North Harbour club final will be played tomorrow between Takapuna and Massey.

The North Harbour squad is:
Hookers: James Parsons, Ray Niuia
Props: Karl Tuikanafe, Nic Mayhew, Sione Mafileo, Adrian Smith, Toketa Fatai
Locks: Gerard Tuioti-Mariner, Brandon Nansen, Chris Vui
Loose forwards: Murphy Taramai, Hapakuki Moala-Liava'a, Kane Jacobson, Glen Preston, Josh Tyrell
Halfbacks: Bryn Hall, Chris Smylie
First fives: Bryn Gatland, Matt McGahan
Midfielders: James Little, Pita Ahki, Matt Vaega, Michael Little, Rene Ranger, Daniel Hilton-Jones
Outside backs: Tevita Li, Matt Duffie, Marty Swart, Afa Fa'atau

- NZ Herald

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