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Canterbury and Auckland name ITM Cup wider training groups

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aucklandrugby.co.nz, crfu.co.nz     12 Jun 2014     Getty Images

The 28 man squad includes three players on continuing provincial union contracts and sixteen current members of the Canterbury Rugby Academy.

“It is fantastic to be welcoming back a number of players who we have been working with and developing over recent years,” Robertson said. “Some of them have already had a taste of ITM Cup rugby but for many of them this training group is a great opportunity to show us that they are now ready to take that next step up.”

Four of the players named in this initial squad are currently involved in the Junior World Cup - Kaveinga Finau, Richie Mo’unga and Tom Sanders with the NZ U20 team, and Nathanial Apa with the Samoa U20 team.

Three players – Sake Aca, Mark Maitland and James Owen – are new faces to the Canterbury Rugby environment, having never been involved in a Canterbury wider training group or the Academy previously. Robertson said these are players who have proven themselves at a club rugby level and who the coaching team are keen to get to know.

“Our coaching and management team has spent a lot of time out at club rugby matches this year and these three new players have really stood out as having the potential to move into representative rugby. Having them involved in the training squad over the next ten weeks will give us the opportunity to get to know their game better and give them the opportunity to show us what they’ve got,” Robertson said.

This initial Wider Training Group will participate in a pre-season programme to further promote themselves for potential section for the 2014 ITM Cup campaign. This does not include players currently involved in Super Rugby and other players may be added or removed from the squad as the club rugby season progresses, depending on form, availability and injuries.

Players selected for the initial wider training group are as follows:

Sake Aca
Mitchell Alcock
Nathaniel Apa
Scott Barrett
Ben Corston
Sione Faletou
Kaveinga Finau
Jack Goodhue
Brad Hemapo
Alex Hodgman
Broc Hooper
Milford Keresoma
Daniel Lienert –Brown
Josh Manning
Mark Maitland
Troy Mangan
Brett Mather
Richie Mo’unga
James Owen
Reed Prinsep
William Saukuru
Tom Sanders
James Schrader
Seb Siatiaga
Jack Stratton
Nick Werahiko
Aaron Williams
Jake Wood

Last week Auckland Head Coach Paul Feeney announced his first pre-season training squad to prepare for the 2014 ITM season.

Ari Hunt (Waitemata)
Blake Gibson (Ponsonby)
Braxton Stanley (Ponsonby)
Caleb Hall (Pakuranga)
Dominic Robertson-McCoy (Marist)
Fraser Armstrong (Pakuranga)
Gafatasi Sua (Ponsonby)
Jamie Lane (Marist)
Jordan Lay (University)
Kalafi Pongi (Marist)
Kurt Eklund (University)
Leon Fukofuka (Marist)*
Marcel Renata (University)
Matt Vaega (Grammar TEC)
Melani Nanai (Vai) (Manukau)
Mitchell Hunt (Pakuranga)
Namatahi Waa (Pakuranga)
Nepia Fox-Matamua (University)
Nick Smith (Pakuranga)
Sean Polwart (University)
Scott Scrafton (Grammar TEC)
So’otala Fa’aso’o (Grammar TEC)
Tim Cleaver (University)
TJ Faiane (Pakuranga)*
Tom McHugh (Grammar TEC)
Vince Aso (Ponsonby)*
Wayne Ngaluafe (Ponsonby) - pictured
William Lloyd (Marist)
William Talataina-Mu (Ponsonby)*

*Currently involved in IRB Junior World Championship

Not considered due to injury:
Manase Tu’ungafase (Suburbs)