By KELLY EXELBY
Three Bay of Plenty players get their first shot at New Zealand colts selection today when they take on tourists Canada A in Porirua.
Lance MacDonald (Mount Maunganui) and Te Puke Sports duo Matt Wallis and Solomon King are in the starting XV for the New Zealand under-21 trial team.
MacDonald, a former New Zealand under-19 player, starts at fullback, with King on the blindside flank and Wallis at tighthead prop.
All three are part of the Bay of Plenty rugby academy.
Bay of Plenty has had colts trialists in the past but no Bay player has been represented in the New Zealand side since 1997, when Caleb Ralph played at centre and went onto become an All Black.
King, Wallis and MacDonald have been in camp with the colts since Sunday at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Wellington.
Another Bay connection to the team comes from Milton Haig. The former Bay representative and coach is the side's defensive coach alongside head coach Greg Cooper.
The final squad will be named next month and will leave New Zealand in June for the under-21 world championship in France.
Zealand Colts trial team: Lance MacDonald (Bay of Plenty), Nick Thomson (Canterbury), Ben Nowell (Canterbury), Seminar Manu (Wellington), Karne Hesketh (Otago), Phillip Burleigh (Canterbury), Brett Goodin (Taranaki), Faifili Levave (Wellington), Shane Christie (Tasman), Solomon King (Bay of Plenty), Michael Paterson (captain, Canterbury), Leon Power (Manawatu), Matthew Wallis (Bay of Plenty), Lance Po-Ching (Auckland), Arden David-Perrot (Wellington). Reserves: Matthew Holloway (Canterbury), Sekope Kepu (Counties Manukau), Nick Crosswell (Manawatu), Robert Colhoun (North Harbour), Tomasi Palu (Wellington), Daniel Bowden (Northland), Robert Flynn (Tasman)
* Justin Marshall has severed his career with English rugby club Leeds after one season despite having a year remaining on his contract.
Radio Sport reported today that the former All Blacks halfback has managed to gain an early release after Leeds were relegated from the premiership over the weekend.
Radio Sport said the club was expected to make an announcement tomorrow.
This week Marshall, 32, said he did not want to play in the National League One, and said he had played his "heart and guts out this season" and it would be an act of good faith if the club released him.
By KELLY EXELBY