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The University of Waikato (UoW) Chiefs Taua Development team arrived in Hong Kong yesterday for an exciting tour, under the high performance partnership formed between the Chiefs Rugby Club and the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU). The UoW Chiefs Taua Development team returns to Hong Kong for a fourth consecutive year following successful previous tours.

The tour includes the UoW Chiefs Taua Development team having training sessions with the Hong Kong national squad and playing a match against a Hong Kong national XV on Saturday 21 April at the Hong Kong Football Club, before returning on Monday 23 April. The UoW Chiefs Taua Development players will also participate in community engagement coaching events during their stay, together with the HKRU for young players from their Youth and Mini Rugby programmes.

Chiefs High Performance Manager Chris Tindall said: “It is exciting to again return to Hong Kong with a UoW Chiefs Taua Development team to further our rugby development and performance together with the Hong Kong Rugby Union. The tour to Hong Kong is a special opportunity for our players’ learning and development, to experience international touring and full time preparation on and off the field, and to train with and play against the Hong Kong national squad. Added to that, Hong Kong is a great city to experience. This tour provides a real opportunity for the players to impress on and off the field for Chiefs selection, as players have done from the tours over the last three years.”

Previous UoW Chiefs Taua Development players who have progressed from the Hong Kong tours to play for the Gallagher Chiefs are: Shaun Stevenson, Atu Moli, Liam Polwart, Mitchell Brown, Sefo Kautai, Aidan Ross, Samisoni Taukei’aho and Luteru Laulala.

“Part of our tour focus is to further assist the Hong Kong national squad and coaches in their preparation for the Asia Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup qualification matches this year. It’s an exciting performance goal for Hong Kong Rugby, and they have been building positively towards it.” added Tindall.

The UoW Chiefs Taua Development touring squad of 27 players was selected from available players in co-ordination with the Chiefs region Provincial Unions of Counties Manukau, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Taranaki. It includes a mix of developing and experienced players led by 2017 Gallagher Chiefs players, James Tucker - who has just returned from playing a season in Italy - and Seb Siataga.

Five players return to Hong Kong from the touring squad last year: Prop, Ayden Johnstone and Joshua Iosefo-Scott; Loose Forward, Ajay Lafaele-Mua; Halfback, Luke Campbell; Midfielder, Matthew Lansdown. The squad also includes five 2017 New Zealand Schools representative players: Prop, Ollie Norris and George Dyer; Lock, Tupou Vai’i; Midfielder, Quinn Tupaea; Wing, Kini Naholo.

The touring squad also includes three players from the Kobelco Steelers club in Japan who have been training with the Gallagher Chiefs under the High Performance partnership between the Chiefs Rugby Club and the Kobelco Steelers: Prop, Takayuki Watanabe; Hooker, Kasuke Nishibayashi; First Five-Eighth, Akihiro Shimizo. 

The UoW Chiefs Taua Development squad will be coached by Paul Hodder as Head Coach, with past Chiefs Rugby Club player Nathan White and current Gallagher Chiefs player Tim Nanai–Williams as Assistant Coaches.

 

The UoW Chiefs Taua Development touring squad to Hong Kong is:

Props

Ayden Johnstone (Waikato)

Ollie Norris (Waikato)

Joshua Iosefo-Scott (Waikato)

Takayuki Watanabe (Kobelco Steelers)

George Dyer (Waikato)

Hookers

Donald Maka (Taranaki)

Seb Siataga (Bay of Plenty)

Kasuke Nishibayashi (Kobelco Steelers)

Locks

James Tucker (Waikato) (c)

Sam Caird (Waikato)

Tupou Vai’i (Taranaki)

Loose Forwards

Stan van der Hoven (Bay of Plenty)

Fotu Lokotui (Counties Manukau)

Joe Johnson (Bay of Plenty)

Ajay Lafaele-Mua (Bay of Plenty)

Halfbacks

Luke Campbell (Bay of Plenty)

Isaac Te Aute (Bay of Plenty)

First Five-Eighth

Daniel Waite (Taranaki)

Akihiro Shimizo (Kobelco Steelers)

Midfield

Matthew Lansdown (Waikato)

Quinn Tupaea (Waikato)

Nigel Ah Wong (Counties Manukau)

Sam Furniss (Counties Manukau)

Outside Backs

Isaac Te Tamaki (Waikato)

Mosese Dawai (Waikato)

Kini Naholo (Taranaki)

Bailey Simonsson (Bay of Plenty)

 

The UoW Chiefs Taua Development Squad players not available for the tour are:  

Jeff Thwaites (Bay of Plenty), Baden Wardlaw (Bay of Plenty), Jesse Parete (Taranaki), Bailyn Sullivan (Waikato), Declan O’Donnell (Taranaki), Luteru Laulala (Counties Manukau), Reuben O’Neill (Taranaki), Jared Profit (Taranaki), Jacob Skeen (Waikato), Matt Vai’i (Counties Manukau), Mitchell Jacobson (Waikato), Jahrome Brown (Waikato), Terrence Hepetema (Bay of Plenty), Sheldon Tovio (Waikato), Tyler Campbell (Waikato), Tevita Mafileo (Bay of Plenty), Suetena Asomua (Counties Manukau), Bradley Slater (Taranaki), Laghlan McWhannell (Waikato), Tom Florence (Taranaki), Xavier Roe (Waikato), Ciarahn Matoe (Taranaki), Kaleb Trask (Bay of Plenty).

 

The 2018 University of Waikato Chiefs Development Squad Management Team for the Hong Kong tour is:

Head Coach Paul Hodder
Assistant Coach Nathan White
Assistant Coach Tim Nanai-Williams
Manager Gareth Duncan
Trainer Brad Mayo
Physio Teresa Te Tamaki
Analyst Jared Christie
Player Development Manager Kent Currie
High Performance Manager Chris Tindall

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