Big Day Out for Blues at Shadbolt Park

Big Day Out for Blues at Shadbolt Park

Saturday sees a big doubleheader for the club when the Blues Under 20s and A teams will play at Shadbolt Park, home of the Suburbs rugby club.

Sponsored by Westie Pies, the Under 20s will be the curtainraiser against the Hurricanes Under 20s and have a side riddled with young talent, most of it not long out of school. They will be seeking to turn around last weekend’s result, when they lost 29-17 to their Chiefs counterparts in Waihi.

Co-captained by the Auckland pair of first five Harry Plummer and No 6 Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa, the Under 20s have also included one current schoolboy, Sacred Heart Year 13 student and 2017 NZ Schools halfback Taufa Funaki. Caleb Clarke continues his transition back from national sevens duty with this team on the left wing.

“We initiated the 20s with the Hurricanes in 2015. We identified a need to add another layer to the pathway,” says Tony Hanks, General Manager High Performance. “We have fantastic engagement with our Under 18s and having the Under 20s provides continuity and encourages the players to stay in our system. The Under 20 programme has a very heavy development focus and we are fortunate to have quality staff and coaching working with the group.”

North Harbour assistant coach Daniel Halangahu is the Head Coach, while his assistants are Blues scrum coach Ben Afeaki and former All Blacks flanker Steven Bates.

The Blues A team faces their Chiefs counterparts in the first of two games between the teams in the next month, and is the first hit-out for the Blues As, coached by North Harbour’s Tom Coventry. The injured Otere Black will help out as assistant as he continues his rehab.

Several fringe Blues, some who shone at last month’s Brisbane Global Tens and in the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup, and nine fully contracted players, highlight the A team selection, with some seeking game time and, in the case of first five Stephen Perofeta, on the comeback from injury. The Blues squad to tour South Africa will be named after this game and some players from the A fixture could well find themselves on the plane.

Lock Josh Goodhue will skipper the Blues As, while two players from the Honda Heat Japanese club, who have a partnership with the Blues – Kondo Masaki and Song Gi Paku – are among the reserves.


Blues U20s team to face the Hurricanes (1.00pm kickoff):

1. Leon Thambiran (North Harbour)

2. Penisoni Fineanganofo (Auckland)

3. Robb Cobb (Auckland)

4. Ben Sa’u (Auckland)

5. John Akauola-Laula (Auckland)

6. Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa (co-c, Auckland)

7. Tamarau McGahan (North Harbour)

8. Nathan Va’atausili (North Harbour)

9. Jack Heighton (North Harbour)

10. Harry Plummer (co-c, Auckland)

11. Caleb Clarke (Auckland/Blues)

12. Sebastian Visinia (Auckland)

13. Scott Gregory (Northland)

14. AJ Lam (Auckland)

15. Matt Storm (Auckland)

16. Luteru Tolai (North Harbour)

17. Leka Tu’ungafasi (Auckland)

18. Feao Teutau (Auckland)

19. Max Hicks (North Harbour)

20. Aleks Dabek (Auckland)

21. Brad McNaughten (North Harbour)

22. Jack Bergin (North Harbour)

23. Patrick Pati (North Harbour)

24. Lemeki Namoa (Auckland)

25. John Cooper (Auckland)

26. Kaynan Tua (Auckland)

27. Taufa Funaki (Auckland)


Dan Halangahu: Coach
Ben Afeaki: Assistant Coach
Steven Bates: Assistant Coach
Grant Wilson: Manager

Simon Kim: Doctor
Mark Plummer: Physio
Jaco Pretorius: Physio

Josh Yarnton: Performance Analyst
Jeremy Giles: Trainer


Blues A team to face the Chiefs (2.45pm kickoff): 

1. Adrian Smith (North Harbour)

2. Ross Wright (Northland/Blues)

3. Sione Mafileo (North Harbour/Blues)

4. Josh Goodhue (c, Northland/Blues)

5. Jacob Pierce (North Harbour)

6. Matt Matich (Northland/Blues)

7. Adrian Choat (Auckland)

8. Hapakuki Moala-Liava’a (North Harbour)

9. Jonathan Ruru (Auckland/Blues)

10. Stephen Perofeta (Taranaki/Blues)

11. Tumua Manu (Auckland)

12. Orbyn Leger (Counties Manukau/Blues)

13. Tamati Tua (Northland/Blues)

14. Jordan Hyland (Northland)

15. Jordan Trainor (Auckland/Blues)

16. Kurt Eklund (Auckland)

17. Marcel Renata (Auckland)

18. Jack Straker (Northland)

19. Kondo Masaki (Honda Heat)

20. Connor Collett (North Harbour)

21. Lewis Gjaltema (North Harbour)

22. Song Gi Paku (Honda Heat)

23. Salesi Rayasi (Auckland)

24. Ben Neenee (North Harbour)


Tom Coventry: Coach
Otere Black: Assistant Coach
Paul Gianotti: Manager

Simon Kim: Doctor
Harley Matthews: Physio
Josh Yarnton: Performance Analyst
Adam Storey: Trainer