Wellington name strong ITM Cup squad

Getty Images     21 Aug 2012     Getty Images

Led by Jeremy Thrush, the Ricoh Wellington Lions are set to begin their 2012 ITM Cup campaign this Friday in their season opener against the Manawatu Turbos in Palmerston North.

Players to be named in the Ricoh Wellington Lions squad following strong club rugby seasons are Lua Lokotui and Solomona Sakalia from Marist St Pats, Kayne Hammington from Upper Hutt, and Genesis Mamea from Wainuiomata.

Also included in the squad are two members of this year’s New Zealand Under 20 campaign – Matt Proctor and Ope Peleseuma. Meanwhile Ardie Savea, younger brother of Julian, has forced his way in after his first year on the International Sevens circuit for New Zealand.

Ricoh Wellington Lions Head Coach Chris Boyd, while announcing his squad this morning, reinforced the local culture within the side. “Wellington is a province that produces enough talent that we are able to develop our own and this team is all about Wellingtonians playing for Wellington. All but a few of our squad were born and bred in the capital and they take immense pride in representing their town.”

Wellington Rugby CEO James Te Puni added, “Interest in rugby in Wellington is high at present. There has been significant growth this season, with more people playing the game in Wellington this year than any other year since 2002. That growth and interest only bids well for an exciting ITM Cup season and the development of more Wellington rugby players for the future.”

2012 Wellington ITM Cup squad

Hookers: Dane Coles (Poneke), Motu Matu'u (Oriental-Rongotai)

Props: Reggie Goodes (Poneke), Solomona Sakalia (Marist St Pats), Arden David-Perrot (Marist St Pats), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen (Marist St Pats), Whetu Henry (Oriental-Rongotai)

Locks: Jeremy Thrush (Hutt Old Boys Marist), Mark Reddish (Oriental-Rongotai), Ross Filipo (Petone), Lua Lokotui (Marist St Pats)

Loose forwards: Scott Fuglistaller (Wests Roosters), Serge Lilo (Northern United), Ardie Savea (Oriental-Rongotai), Genesis Mamea (Wainuiomata) Halfbacks: Frae Wilson (Wainuiomata), Kayne Hammington (Upper Hutt)

First five-eighths: Tim Bateman (Old Boys University)

Midfield: Shaun Treeby (Tawa), Ope Peleseuma (Hutt Old Boys Marist), Alapati Leiua (Northern United) Charlie Ngatai (Poneke)

Outside backs: Matt Proctor (Oriental-Rongotai), Jason Woodward (Upper Hutt). Also included, but injured: TJ Perenara (Northern United), Brad Shields (Petone), Lima Sopoaga (Old Boys University)

All Blacks named in squad: Hosea Gear (Hutt Old Boys Marist), Cory Jane (Upper Hutt), Ma'a Nonu (Oriental-Rongotai), Julian Savea (Oriental-Rongotai), Conrad Smith (Old Boys-University), Victor Vito (Marist St Pat's)