Bay of Plenty's poor representation in the Chiefs in recent years will continue into the 2017 Super Rugby season.

The Chiefs announced their 38-man squad yesterday with only winger Chase Tiatia, hookers Nathan Harris and Liam Polwart, prop Siegfried Fisi'ihoi and flankers Sam Cane and Mitchell Karpik included from Bay of Plenty.

Halfback Te Aihe Toma was left out of the Highlanders squad and there is no room in any of the five New Zealand franchises for the Steamers' Player of the Year and form No 8 in the Mitre 10 Cup, Joe Tupe.

Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge said the loose forwards were selected before the Mitre 10 Cup kicked off.


"We made our decisions around the loose forwards prior to the start of the (Mitre 10 Cup) but we were impressed with [Tupe] and there will be opportunities for him in our development programme," Strawbridge said.

"He had a really good season and I have known Joe right back in his Auckland days."

Better news though for 21-year-old Polwart, who impressed with his performances for the Chiefs Development team earlier this year.

"Our interest in Liam pre-dates the Mitre 10 Cup. We watched him in the New Zealand 20s programme and he caught our eye," Strawbridge said.

"He's pretty exciting. He is a bit of an all-rounder. He has quite a good physical game but he also has a good continuity game keeping the ball alive. His core skills are pretty strong as well.

"And his character too. We spent quite a lot of time with him and we had his brother Sean in our squad before. There is a lot to like about Liam so we have taken him on board.

"He has had a few problems with concussion recently so that's probably why he didn't have as much involvement in Mitre 10 Cup as he might have been expecting too."

Polwart will contest the No 2 jersey with former All Blacks Nathan Harris and Hika Elliott.

"They are two good men. We are looking for a really strong competitive environment among those three and we hope they bring the best out in each other," Strawbridge said.

"Nathan is obviously out with his ACL reconstruction so wouldn't see him till later in the pre-season."

Steamers flyer Tiatia was reselected despite suffering two serious leg injuries in the Mitre 10 Cup.

His work ethic, akin to Chiefs top winger James Lowe, is one of the main reasons why the former Wellingtonian was reselected.

"His endeavour is exciting. His desire to touch the ball as often as he can in games is great and he is highly competitive," Strawbridge said. "But again it is probably not for another four months until we see him."

Strawbridge said the post-season antics that caused so much embarrassment to the Chiefs had been addressed long and hard.

"We have put lots of things in place and have put ourselves under the microscope. We just want to be better at what we do and we understand what our responsibilities are to our supporters and our stakeholders and to everyone we represent.

"We want to make this year a winner in every sense of the word."

Chiefs 2017 squad

Siegfried Fisi'ihoi (Bay of Plenty), Mitchell Graham, Kane Hames, Sosefo Kautai, Nepo Laulala, Atunaisa Moli
Hikawera Elliot, Nathan Harris (Bay of Plenty), Liam Polwart (Bay of Plenty)
Michael Allardice, Dominic Bird, Brodie Retallick, James Tucker
Loose forwards
Mitchell Brown, Lachlan Boshier, Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty), Mitchell Karpik (Bay of Plenty), Michael Leitch, Liam Messam, Tom Sanders, Taleni Seu
Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Finlay Christie, Brad Weber
First five-eighths
Aaron Cruden, Stephen Donald, Damian McKenzie
Midfield backs
Fa'ase'e (Johnny) Fa'au'li, Anton Lienert-Brown, Tim Nanai-Williams, Charlie Ngatai
Outside backs
Solomon Alaimalo, Glen Fisiiahi, James Lowe, Sam McNicol, Toni Pulu, Shaun Stevenson, Chase Tiatia (Bay of Plenty)