The Bay of Plenty Steamers have named their squad for the upcoming 2016 Mitre 10 Cup season.
Head coach Clayton McMillan believes they have assembled a squad with a good blend of enthusiastic debutants and experience, with 24 capped players in the team.
"We've selected an outstanding group of men, hardworking, competitive, and highly motivated to perform."
"The fourteen new faces, will give us an exciting blend of youth and experience and importantly, depth throughout," said McMillan.
There are 24 players returning to the Steamers which include Italian international Kelly Haimona and New Zealand All Black sevens player Teddy Stanaway.
The fourteen new players who have been selected in the Steamers squad will be expected to make their Mitre 10 Cup debut this season. That includes four international sevens players in Joe Webber, Regan Ware, Isaac Te Aute and Hugh Blake, with Webber and Ware moving across from Waikato.
Some Super Rugby players return from last season, with electric try scorer Chase Tiatia, All Blacks hooker Nathan Harris and prop Siegfried Fisi'ihoi having spent the season with the Chiefs, while flanker Mitch Karpik would provide a huge boost if he recovers from an ACL injury in time to debut in the Bay colours.
All Blacks flanker Sam Cane is also named in the squad, although it is unlikely his All Blacks duties will allow him a game at NPC level.
Within the 37 man squad ten of the twelve premier club sides are represented from across the Bay of Plenty.
"This team represents our region. The quality of club rugby has improved, and as a result, we have a competiton that's going down to the wire and brought a lot of excitement back to our club scene. The by product of that is more players have been given an opportunity to shine, and this is reflected in the final squad," said McMillan.
"The team understand the demands and challenges ahead, but have prepared accordingly and are ready to meet those challenges head on.
"We are not a team of household names but are determined to create a legacy of success, bring some mana back to the jersey, and earn the respect of our supporters and stakeholders by playing a brand of rugby synonymous with the Bay of Plenty."
2016 Bay of Plenty Steamers Squad
Nathan Harris - Te Puke Sports (26), Liam Polwart* - Greerton Marist, Joseph Royal - Rotoiti (29), Sabastian Siataga - Mount Maunganui (8)
Siegfried Fisi'ihoi - Rotoiti (18), Jordan Lay* - Whakarewarewa, Aidan Ross - Te Puke Sports (3), Solomona Sakalia - Mount Maunganui (19), Pingi Tala'apitaga - Tauranga Sports (34), Jeff Thwaites - Te Puna (6)
Troy Callander - Greerton Marist (7), Shahn Eru - Te Puna (7), Keepa Mewett - Tauranga Sports (17), Culum Retallick - Tauranga Sports (92)
Matty Axtens* - Mount Maunganui, Hugh Blake* - Te Puke Sports, Sam Cane - Tauranga Sports (18), Mitchell Karpik* - Mount Maunganui, Jesse Parete* - Arataki, Henry Stowers* - Arataki, Eru Wano-Smith* - Whakarewarewa, Joe Tupe - Greerton Marist (23)
Luke Campbell* - Te Puke Sports, Ruki Tipuna - Rangataua (12), Te Aihe Toma - Te Puna (25)
Kelly Haimona - Whakarewarewa (15), Dan Hollinshead - Te Puke Sports (19)
Lalakai Foketi - Rangataua (10), Terrence Hepetema - Te Puna (1), Teddy Stanaway - Mount Maunganui (1), Joe Webber* - Te Puke Sports
Te Rangi Fraser - Whakarewarewa (10), Monty Ioane* - Greerton Marist, Elijah Nicholas - Whakatane Marist (6), Chase Tiatia - Rangataua (11), Isaac Te Aute* - Mount Maunganui, Regan Ware* - Arataki
Leigh Hughes* - Mount Maunganui