Two schoolboys have been named among the 50 players selected to attend next month's New Zealand Divisional XV trials and training camp at Palmerston North.
Hawkes Bay fullback Glenn Horton and King Country winger Pehi Te Whare are in the initial squad, while at the other end of the spectrum, former All Black halfback Stu Forster also got the nod from the selectors.
Other notable inclusions for the November 7-11 trials include Hawkes Bay and New Zealand Maori representative Reece Robinson, one of the standout players in Sunday's NPC second-division final against East Coast.
The disappointment of losing the final 27-30 was eased yesterday for veteran prop Orcades Crawford and team-mates Mano Flutey and Kele Leawere, who were also named.
Hawkes Bay have the biggest representation with 12 players.
King Country hooker Paul Mitchell, formerly of the Auckland Blues, is the only Super 12 representative among the trialists.
Coach Noel McQuilkin was delighted with the standard of second and third-division play.
The squad will be named at the end of the camp and will assemble next year for a yet-to-be-determined programme.
* Outgoing Counties Manukau coach Andrew Talaimanu has vowed that relegation to the second division does not mean his union will disintegrate.
"Counties colours will still fly," he said. "We have one inherent advantage - or disadvantage - in that demographically we're still part of metropolitan Auckland, and we've got to build on that."
Talaimanu struggled to fight back the tears following the 17-69 loss to Auckland at Eden Park that sealed Counties' relegation fate.
After the match, Counties captain Danny Lee sat with his head in his hands while Talaimanu choked on his emotions as he recalled messages of support before the game from past players such as All Blacks Jonah Lomu and Pita Alatini.
Talaimanu said it was his last game as Counties coach, but he wanted to stay involved with the union.
Divisional XV trial squad: Tim Manawatu (HB), Dwayne Kemp (Wanganui), Glenn Horton (HB), Ashley Drake (Horowhenua-Kapiti), Ray Kararuia (HB), Pila Fifita (North Otago), Michael Pettman (Manawatu), Sam Gibbons (Marlborough), Sam Leung-Wai (HB), Willie Lardelli (Poverty Bay), Pehi Te Whare (King Country).
Joe Faaiu (Nelson Bays), Matthew Harvey (Manawatu), Murdoch Paewai (HB), Matthew Ryan (Manawatu), Mano Flutey (East Coast), Bevan Robinson (Thames Valley), Stu Forster (HB), Lee Peina (King Country), Quentin Austin (Manawatu), Aaron McDonald (Thames Valley), Mutu Ngarimu (HB), Kahu Marfell (Nelson Bays), Daniel Alofa (King Country), Aaron Palmer (Manawatu), Tafai Ioasa (HB), Simon McKearney (Thames Valley), Graham Ching (Nelson Bays), Eric Smith (Sth Canterbury), Aaron Griffiths (Nelson Bays), Mark Knofflock (Manawatu), Jamie Connors (West Coast), Matt Porter (Marlborough), Jason Bellamy (East Coast), James Saipani (Wairarapa Bush).
Daniel Dwyer (Mid Canterbury), Kele Leawere (East Coast), Daniel Quate (Hawke's Bay), Reece Robinson (HB), Peter Bielski (HB), Jamie Hapata (Manawatu), Blair Mirfin (Nelson Bays), Clint Newlands (HB), Orcades Crawford (East Coast), Nigel Hill (Buller), Derek Leefe (East Coast), Faiangai Sevieti (South Canterbury), Paul Mitchell (King Country), Danny Logan (Wanganui), Toby Foster (Sth Canterbury).