Hawkes Bay club rugby kicks off this weekend with all men's grades taking the field for the first time after a delayed start due to Covid-19.
All grades (Premier, Premier Reserve, Division 2, Division 3 and Colts) have good participation of teams and many clubs are reporting good numbers attending trainings and many returning to play in the Maddison Trophy competition.
• Kickoff at last for 2020 club rugby in Hawke's Bay
• Rugby: Hawke's Bay Magpies secure final berth after extra-time thriller
• Hawke's Bay rugby boss Jay Campbell confident of post-Covid kick off
• Rugby: HBRU's equity increases by half a million
The Big Barrel women's competition will start on June 27 as teams prepare for their final preseason fixtures. Clubs are still welcoming any players wanting to join both men and women's teams.
2020 premier clubs and squads
Maori Agricultural College (MAC) narrowly missed out on a top four spot in 2019 and are looking at an improved result in 2020. A new look backline with a competitive forward pack gives this year's MAC Premier team a good balance.
Players to watch – Magpies flanker Solomone Fuanki and first five Lincoln McClutchie will show their class, Samoan 7s representative Tom Iosefo should continue his fine form.
Willy Benson (Captain), Kianu Kereru-Symes, Damarus Hokianga, Paipai Siofolau, Paula Latu, Amiga Mikaele, Mason Kean, TK Kata, Larry Olive, Everard Reid, Teina Huia, Tupou Afungia, Solomone Funaki, Lexus Greening, Faalemiga Selesele, Tom Iosefo, John Ika, Colin Hokianga, Lincoln McClutchie, Gideon Kautai, Paul Bickle, Alatasi Tupou, Andrew Tauatevalu, Vailoa Kereti, Jackson Waerea, Roger Paewai, Hemi Waerea, Tinania Atiga, Filemoni Asolua, William Ahkiong
Coaches: Mutu Ngarimu, Matt Marsh, Pat Benson,
Managers: Anthony Morley, Len Huia, Ray Raha, Narley Tuliau, James Mitchell
Taradale Rugby and Sports
Taradale have size upfront and added impact in the backs for a competitive line up across the field. Many will be picking them to improve on their semifinalists position in 2019.
Players to watch – Former Magpies prop Joe Apikatoa returns to Hawke's Bay, flanker Iakopo Mapu was outstanding in 2019 and midfield back Levi Harmon has been a good acquisition from Wellington.
Joe Apikotoa, Jacob Baker, Josh Combs, Josh Eden-Whaitiri, Grayson Ewart, Andrew Gardner, Levi Harmon, Karl Hewitt, Caleb Makene, Iakopo Mapu, Angelo Mufana, Dylan Ramsay, Nathan Ramsay, Cameron Robinson, Ian Rore, Liam Rowlands, Hemaua Samasoni, Ollie Sapsford, Humphrey Shield, Toby Single, Brad Truesdale, Majella Tufuga, Namatahi Waa, Thomas Williams
Coaches: Boyd Carswell and Tim Combs
Managers: Jordan Wise, Paul Wise and Jack Byrne
Clive Rugby and Sports
Andrew Clark Tremains Clive Rugby & Sports have a good look about this year's squad. The traditionally slow starters will be looking to hit their straps from game one.
Expect a big robust tight five mixed this year with some speedy loose forwards. The backline has excitement potential if Super Rugby players Tiaan Falcon and Jonah Lowe are made available. The ever-reliable goal kicking of Tianua Poto, the return of Sebastian Visinia and acquisition of Nick Biss add stability to the backline.
Players to watch – HB Academy flanker Liam Udy-Johns with backs Visinia and Biss
Kereama Peni, Zac Southwick, Corban Kireka, Simon Haimona, Jono Soffe, Rocky Pohatu, Donovan Mataira, Rana Huata, Henry Blake, Jay Tuivaiti, Jordan Kupa, Joeseph Fuimaono, Liam Udy-Johns, Jesse Tuhua, Filipo Schmidt, Sam Wong, Bronson Hokianga, Tama Dunn, Te Kahika Thompson, Tianua Poto, Tiaan Falcon, Moses Riely Sebastian Visinia, Duff Pentito, Marcus Moat, Connor Rahui-Catley, Corey Tautau, Jonah Lowe, Eti Collins, Wharewaiata Rolls and Nick Biss
Coaches: Vaine Maui, Jorian Tangaere
Managers: Dean Hales, Ted Tautau
Havelock North Rugby Club
The Progressive Meat and Shanley and Co Surveyors premier team is full of excitement about the season look to hit the ground running. The villagers are renowned for playing some razzle-dazzle backed up with some solid additions and many returning players who will add experience.
Players to watch – Highlanders and Maori All Black Brendon Edmonds named to play and coach, talented young first five Latrell Smiler-Ah Kiong from Hastings Boys' and the return of crowd favourite Shannon Chase
Jasper Wylie, Cameron Pratt, Kelly Petrowski, Callum Hardie, Brendon Edmonds, Otzhuka Tuanui, Joe Walding- Karaitiana, Matt Phillips, Wayne Lush, JJ Scales, Fillipe Kuruvoli, Shane Cusack, Ben Morgan, Willie McGoon, Jacob Stephenson, Isiah Renata, Devan Flanders, Gareth Evans, Tony Lamborn, Trent Hape, Matt Hill, Latrell Smiler- Ah Kiong, Adam Blake, Ethan Taylor, Kalin Paewai, Jessie Paewai, Farani Tupai, Trinity Spooner- Neera, Anzelo Tuitavuki, Mikey Vuicakau, Shannon Chase.
Coaches: Edmonds Fuiava, Brendon Edmonds, Isaac Paewai, Nathan Paewai
Managers: Richard Kinnear, Phil Drummond
Napier Old Boys Marist
In the off-season, WIT NOBM coach Craig Gowler has had his recruiting hat on and has bolstered the ranks with new exciting players to join last year's Maddison Trophy-winning side.
Magpies' Will Tremain returns to the loose forwards, youngsters Tom Devine and James Holbrook have joined the NOBM front row with a 2.03cm addition at lock in Australian Alex Williams. George Stratton has joined the slick backline, after his representative time for Canterbury under 19s and 20s and Josh McIntyre (ex NBHS) has returned to the Bay after time in Palmerston North.
Players to watch – Will Tremain will be keen to start the season and stay injury free, speedster Michael Buckley has an eye for the try line and tough loose forward Ricky Hayes will add grit.
Pedro Bezanilla, Michael Buckley, Bain Champion, Dominic Devine, Luke Donaldson, Zachary Donaldson, Liam Edwards, Pouvi Fatialofa, Matthew Gardner, Ricky Hayes, James Holbrook, Chris Johnston, Ioane Lauano, Migao Lauano, Terry Marsh, Lee Moleli, Andrew Robinson, Sean Skeet, George Stratton, Patrick Teddy, Alexander Williams, Ellery Wilson, Jack Winson, Will Tremain, Josh McIntyre,
Coaches: Craig Gowler, Steve Bennett
Managers: Greig Lindsay, Todd Donaldson, Glenn Donaldson
Hastings Rugby and Sports
Auto Super Shoppes HRS were superb in 2019, narrowly losing the final in extra time. A year on their squad looks settled with some great additions from Hastings Boys' High School.
In the forwards they have a mix of workers in the tight five and dynamic loosies who will provide a good platform for a backline which has a good mix of young and old.
Players to watch – Otago Mitre 10 cup halfback Connor McLeod will add direction, HBHS outside back Joeli Rauca is an exciting prospect and Magpies wing Mason Emerson who has returned from a season in the US.
Jardine Chung Ching, Emil Crichton, Jacob Devery, Neria Fomai, Thomas Kirikiri, Jesse Lesa- Sipaia, Miracle Lolofie, Jason Long, Jono Makris, Fale Matamata, Angus McGuire, Connor McLeod, Antonio Mikaele- Tu'u, Sakopo Ofa, Joeli Rauca, Jayden Rihia, Saifiti Saifiti, Daniel Saifiti, Eugene Sandilands, Joe Taafi, Denis Tapusoa, Jordon Thompson, Etuate Tuanaki, Danya Tulou, Mason Emerson, Manase Uaisele, Timo Vaiusu, Ausage Fomai, Reihana Wilkie, Samuel Walton – Sexton, Marino Mikaele - Tu'u, Danny Toala, Folau Fakatava
Coaches: Sione Kite, Bevan Lynch, Andrew Hui
Managers: John Makris, James Rosenberg
Napier Technical Old Boys
Whilst centenary celebrations may have been put on hold due to Covid-19 Altherm Window Systems Napier Tech have fronted with a strong looking squad. Full of experienced club and rep players the NTOB management have worked hard to entice former players to return this season and will be much improved.
Players to watch – captain and workhorse lock Elijah Martin, Wellington Lions halfback Sheridan Rangihuna and eyes will be on former All Black Zac Guildford.
Mark Braidwood, Tim Farrell, Perrin Manual, Conan Houkamau, Makaro Joel, Elijah Martin, Todd Cushing, Trent Boswell-Wakefield, James Hughes, Hannon Brighouse, Slayde Lange, Tauese Fatialofa, Logan Ede, Jazz Reti, Jordan Faia, Sheridan Rangihuna, Martin Watson, Ted Walters, Sam Giddens, Te Rangi Fraser, Junior Saufoi, Misi Lealaisalano, Tamati Samuels, Penikolo Latu, Zac Guildford, Scott Mogford
Coaches: Asa Ene, Simon Lord
Managers: Rod Cushing, Cyril Whitburn
Central Hawke's Bay Rugby and Sports
Northfuels CHB Rugby and Sports field a settled team full of local and seasoned players. An extremely hard-working forward pack will play for 80 minutes each and every game.
Expect this team to play cohesively and any team who travels to Waipukurau always finds it a tough challenge.
Players to watch – Magpies 2019 player of the year Tom Parsons, HBRU Academy loose forward Frank Lochore has a bright future and HB 7s rep Tomo Fogary.
Marcus Jackson, Trei Nepe-Apatu, William Gunson, Karl Lepelaars, Warwick Slingsby, Tom Beachen, Ruan De Lange, Cory Cathro, Tom Parsons, Troy McIvor, Max Fryatt, Joel Hintz, Wilbur Redward, Tomo Fogarty, Frank Lochore, Geoff Cridge, Ben Parsons, Finau Nimatasau, Tim Sciascia, James Logan, Zac Simpson, Jason Cutbush, Sean Baker, Nick White, Ben May
Coaches: Dave Lochore, Richard Kupa
Manager: Ian Large
Napier Pirate Rugby and Sports – No information supplied
Tamatea Rugby Club - No information supplied