Five newly contracted players for the 2014 Blues squad will join other New Zealand Super Rugby rookies to shed their training wheels as part of an induction day with New Zealand Rugby in Wellington today.
A group of 17 players, all confirmed as contracted players with one of the five New Zealand franchises last month, will be given an overview of what life as a professional rugby player will entail for them.
From the Blues, Pita Akhi, Joe Edwards, Sam Prattley, Lolagi Visinia and Patrick Tuipulotu will all attend.
New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorenson said the day was a chance to officially welcome the new players into the professional rugby environment.
“This is an exciting time for a lot of these young professional players. The day is a great opportunity for these guys to learn a little bit more about the environments they are heading into, and to ask questions about what they can expect,” Sorensen said.
“The induction day is always a good chance to go over our expectations of them as professional rugby players, and what support they can expect from us in return,” Sorensen said.
As part of the induction day, players will hear a current Super Rugby player provide some insight into the experience of entering professional rugby, they will participate in sessions about social media, integrity in sport, and drugs and alcohol awareness.
The players attending are:
Blues – Pita Ahki, Joe Edwards, Sam Prattley, Lolagi Visinia, Patrick Tuipulotu
Chiefs – James Lowe, Liam Squire, Matt Symons
Hurricanes – Mark Abbott, Marty Banks, Cardiff Vaega
Crusaders – Mitchell Drummond
Highlanders – Gareth Evans, Tom Franklin, Kane Hames, TJ Ioane, Frae Wilson