Magpies co-coach Craig Philpott regularly labels Jonah Lowe and Mason Emerson as the future of Hawke's Bay rugby.
So it was no surprise to hear Clive midfield back-winger Lowe and Hastings Rugby and Sports winger Emerson had both re-signed with the Hawke's Bay Rugby Union this week through until the end of the 2018 season. Their re-signings follow breakthrough seasons for the pair on the national scene last year.
Lowe was awarded the Magpies 2016 Back of the Year award. He also represented the fifth-placed Baby Blacks at the World Junior Rugby Championship in Manchester and is currently training as a replacement player with the Super Rugby Championship-winning Hurricanes.
Considered unlucky by many not to be playing for the All Black Sevens in Wellington this weekend after an outstanding nationals for Hawke's Bay in Rotorua a fortnight ago, Emerson, made the Magpies left wing jersey his own in 2016. He also played for New Zealand Under-20s against Australia in May and has recently been invited to attend All Black Sevens training camps.
"Both Mason and Jonah are exceptional locally produced talents. While only 20 years of age, they have consistently shown over the past two seasons that they are stars on the rise. We are excited that they have re-committed to Hawke's Bay rugby," Hawke's Bay Rugby Union CEO Mike Bishop said.
"Jonah and I love playing for Hawke's Bay and we were immensely proud to earn our provincial blazers last season," said Emerson. "Being a part of the Magpies family is something special and I'm already excited about the season ahead."
Alongside the signings of Lowe and Emerson, the Hawke's Bay union has announced a clutch of exciting schoolboy players who have committed to the union's "Pro-Zone" which is the top tier of its development programme. They are 2016 Super 8 Champions and National 1st XV runners-up Hastings Boys' High School first five-eighth Lincoln McClutchie, fullback Danny Toala, halfback Folau Fakatava, hooker Jacob Devery and captain and prop Kianu Kereru-Symes and Napier Boys' High School winger Al Momoisea and centre Mitch Drew.
Napier Boys' High School's 2016 head prefect Will Tremain and deputy head prefect Tim Farrell will pursue tertiary study at Victoria University in Wellington this year but both have signed agreements which ensure their immediate rugby futures are linked with their home province.
Loosehead prop Farrell, a son of former Magpies prop John Farrell, represented New Zealand Secondary Schools last year and has also received a 2017 New Zealand Rugby Union Elite Development Programme contract.
Openside flanker Tremain, a grandson of former Magpie and All Black legend the late Kel Tremain, would likely have been a part of the New Zealand Schools team last year but was injured at the time of selection.
"We believe all of these young men have the potential to be great Magpies in the near future. They have been presented with a huge opportunity to realise their dream and it is now up to them to grab it with both hands," Hawke's Bay Rugby Union Academy manager Joe Payton said.
Meanwhile Hawke's Bay Sevens representative Neria Fomai has been named in the Samoa Sevens playing 12 for the Wellington leg of the World Series circuit this weekend. His team, which is coached by Sir Gordon Tietjens, will take on the All Black Sevens at 1.40pm, the United States at 4.20pm and France at 8.11pm in pool play today.