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Team named for Queen's Birthday preseason match

on Friday, 27 May 2022. Posted in Turbos News

Team named for Queen's Birthday preseason match

A host of local players will have plenty to prove when Manawatū host their first preseason match of the year against Hawke’s Bay at Pahiatua on June 6.

Coach Peter Russell has named a 30-man squad for the Queen’s Birthday match, which kicks off at 2.30pm.

Festivities at Bush Multisport Park kick off at 12.30pm with skills drills and games for kids, a sausage sizzle, bouncy castles and giveaways.

Chief executive Andrea Jackson said connecting with the community was a priority for Manawatū Rugby in 2022.

“Clubs are at the heart of what we do at Manawatū Rugby so the opportunity to be able to host a match at a venue like Bush Multisport Park is exciting,” she said.

“Our clubs do an incredible job during the club season creating amazing atmospheres at their grounds. It is clubs like Bush where our future Turbos and Cyclones are playing rugby and we can’t wait to bring their idols to play on the same fields as they play on.”

The Evergreens, the preseason moniker of the Turbos, will roll out a squad with a mixture of experience and rising talent.

Auckland 2019 NPC title wining hooker Leif Schwencke has been rewarded for his top form in club rugby for College Old Boys. He will share gametime with 2021 Turbo Ben Strang and academy hooker Bryn Gordon, who picked up Horowhenua-Kapiti’s Heartland player of the year during his loan stint last season.

Tighthead prop Sean Paranihi returns to the fold having last played for Manawatū in 2018 and former Fijian international Ropate Rinakama is back for his second season in green and white.

While the tighthead props bring plenty of experience, the looseheads are two of Manawatū’s exciting young front row talents in 2021 Turbo debutants with Joseph Gavigan and Darius Mafile’o.

At lock, workhorse Micaiah Torrance Read is joined by rising star Ofa Tauatevalu and 2020 Turbo Sam Liebezeit.

Johnny Galloway is the senior campaigner in the loose forwards. Academy flanker Elyjah Crosswell will get his crack alongside academy graduates Julian Goerke and Jason Myers and Old Boys-Marist standout Declan McCormack, who moved to the region from Canterbury earlier this year.

Logan E Henry, who debuted for the Hurricanes earlier this year, and 2020 Turbo Bryn Wilson are joined by Aidan Champion at halfback.

There is competition for the No 10 jersey with four players in the squad battling for the role. Stewart Cruden is the incumbent with Brett Cameron yet to return from Japan. But Sam Clarke, who moved to Manawatū from Otago, has been one of the form players in the club competition. Kody Edwards, who returned home this year after a stint down south, and academy graduate Te Atawhai Mason are also banging on the door for their chance.

Taniela Filimone brings plenty of x-factor at centre. He is joined by Kegan Christian-Goss, who is another to impress in club rugby having travelled north this year.

There are plenty of exciting options in the back three headlined by Feilding’s star Drew Wild and the return of 2020 Turbo Adam Boult, who missed last season due to injury. Faleseu Tauailoto has already graduated from the academy to the Turbos squad, Logan WT Henry has been on the Hurricanes’ radar despite being yet to make his provincial debut and Moape Rokosuka and Eseroma Nabuka are both exciting attacking weapons.

The full squad will train together next week in preparation for the match next week.

The game will be free for fans to attend.


Manawatū Evergreens


Joe Gavigan (Freyberg)

Darius Mafile’o (Freyberg)

Leif Schwencke (College Old Boys)

Ben Strang (Varsity)

Bryn Gordon (Old Boys Marist)

Ropate Rinakama (Old Boys Marist)

Sean Paranihi (College Old Boys)

Micaiah Torrance-Read (Varsity)

Ofa Tauatevalu (Kia Toa)

Sam Liebezeit (College Old Boys)

Johnny Galloway (Varsity)

Julian Goerke (Varsity)

Declan McCormack (Old Boys-Marist)

Elyjah Crosswell (College Old Boys)

Jason Myers (Te Kawau)


Logan E Henry (Feilding)

Bryn Wilson (Varsity)

Aidan Champion (Old Boys-Marist)

Kody Edwards (Te Kawau)

Stewart Cruden (Varsity)

Te Atawhai Mason (Kia Toa)

Sam Clarke (Old Boys-Marist)

Kegan Christian-Goss (Old Boys-Marist)

Taniela Filimone (Kia Toa)

Faleseu Tauailoto (Kia Toa)

Moape Rokosuka (Kia Toa)

Eseroma Nabuka (Feilding)

Drew Wild (Feilding)

Adam Boult (Te Kawau)

Logan WT Henry (Varsity)