Bay of Plenty Rugby has wasted no time in boosting the playing strength for the Steamers over the next two years.
Mitch Karpik, Henry Stowers and Liam Polwart have all signed with Bay of Plenty Rugby for the 2016 and 2017 ITM Cup seasons. The three outstanding young players were in the New Zealand Under-20 team which won the 2015 Under-20 Rugby World Cup earlier this year.
It is a mark of the renewed confidence in the Steamers that three of New Zealand's best young players have decided to join the union. They will also be part of the Chiefs' wider player pool for next year's revamped Super Rugby competition.
"It is great to have quality young players like Mitchell, Henry and Liam sign for the Steamers," Bay of Plenty Rugby chief executive Mike Rogers said.
"They will complement our current group and will be invaluable to the development and growth of the side.
It will be exciting to see them wearing our blue and gold colours."
Openside flanker Mitchell Karpik, with the trademark flowing blond locks, has stamped his mark on this year's ITM Cup season with Auckland, following the Under-20 Rugby World Cup and consistent performances for the Blues Under-20 and Development sides. He had an outstanding game for Auckland in Saturday's ITM Cup final against Canterbury.
Hooker Polwart, younger brother of Chiefs' flanker Sean Polwart, will join Karpik on his journey south. Polwart has had a notable career to date, including representing the NZ Under-20s, NZ Barbarians secondary schools and captaining the Auckland Under-19s.
Loose forward Stowers has been a prominent player in age grade rugby, earning himself a position in the Wellington Lions ITM Cup squad. Stowers captained the Samoan Under-20 side in 2014 and was a great contributor to this year's champion New Zealand team.