Waikato rugby announced their squad for the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup on Tuesday, September 8.

Head coach is once again former Waikato and Ōhaupō player, Andrew Strawbridge.

The squad contains eight players from Hautapu and Ōtorohanga halfback Cortex Ratima in his debut season for the province.

Former All Blacks Liam Messam, 36, and Adam Thomson, 38, will bring plenty of experience to the Waikato pack as well as Fijian flyer Patrick Osborne, 33, in the backline.

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Hooker Steven Misa returns to the red, yellow and blacks after last playing for them in 2016.

Notable losses for 2020 are Waikato centurion and 2019 captain, Dwayne Sweeney; Sevu Reece who has departed to join Tasman and Ōtorohanga captain Haereiti Hetet who has made the move over the Kaimais to represent Bay of Plenty.

Solomon Alaimalo, James Tucker, Laghlan McWhannell and Sam Cooper are all side-lined for the season due to injury.

In a late start, the Mitre 10 Cup kicks off on September 11 while the 2020 Farah Palmer Cup kicked off on Saturday, September 5.


Current Waikato top point scorers:
Damian McKenzie – 251; Fletcher Smith – 213; Liam Messam – 148.
Current Waikato most caps:
Liam Messam – 85; Mitch Jacobson – 46; Samisoni Taukei'aho – 33.


WAIKATO MOOLOOS 2020 SQUAD:
(*DENOTES INTERNATIONALLY CAPPED. BOLD DENOTES NEW TO PROVINCE)
Forwards
Hamilton Burr, Rob Cobb, George Dyer, Samipeni Finau, Josh Iosefa-Scott, Luke Jacobson* – captain, Mitch Jacobson, Ayden Johnstone, Sefo Kautai, Sekope Lopeti-Moli, Liam Messam*, Steven Misa, Ollie Norris, Simon Parker, Samisoni Taukei'aho, James Thompson, Adam Thomson*

Backs
Liam Coombes-Fabling, Matty Lansdown, Anton Lienert-Brown*, Damian McKenzie*, Patrick Osborne*, Cortez Ratima, Rivez Reihana, Xavier Roe, Louis Rogers, Fletcher Smith, Bailyn Sullivan, Valynce Te Whare, Quinn Tupaea, Gideon Wrampling
Gains:
Liam Messam (Overseas), Xavier Roe (Taranaki), Adam Thomson (Otago), Patrick Osborne (Canterbury), George Dyer, Steven Misa (Otago), Liam Coombes-Fablng, Cortez Ratima, Gideon Wrampling.

Losses:
Sevu Reece (Tasman), Newton Tudreu (Manawatu), Raniera Takarangi (Southland), Declan O'Donnell, Haereiti Hetet (Bay of Plenty), Tim Bond, Jahrome Brown, Sam Cooper (Injured), Murray Iti, Laghlan McWhannell (Injured), Api Naikatini, Hugo Nankivell, Antonio Shalfoon (Tasman/Injured), Toby Smith, James Tucker (Injured), Solomon Alaimalo (Injured), Tyler Campbell, Carlos Price, Jack Stratton, Dwayne Sweeney.

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2020 WAIKATO FIXTURES:
Week 1: Waikato v Wellington at FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Week 2: Waikato v North Harbour at FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Week 3: Tasman v Waikato at Trafalgar Park, Nelson
Week 4: Southland v Waikato at Rugby Park, Invercargill
Week 5: Waikato v Counties Manukau at FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Week 6: Canterbury v Waikati (Ranfurly Shield) at Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
Week 7: Waikato v Taranaki at FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Week 8: Auckland v Waikato at Eden Park, Auckland
Week 9: Waikato v Bay of Plenty at FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Week 10: Northland v Waikato at Lindvart Park, Kaikohe
Semifinals: November 20-21
Finals: November 27-28

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