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Power Packed Backline A Feature Of Taranaki Mitre 10 Cup Squad

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Eighteen players with Investec Super Rugby experience, three Mitre 10 Cup debutants and 541 combined games for Taranaki.

These all feature in the 2016 Port Taranaki Bulls squad unveiled by head coach Colin Cooper ahead of the team’s first Mitre 10 Cup game against Bay of Plenty in Tauranga on 20 August.

QUICK TAP: 10 NEW FACES IN WAIKATO MITRE 10 CUP SQUAD

Seven players are in line to make their Port Taranaki Bulls debuts this season. Hurricanes and Coastal prop Mike Kainga bolsters the front row following the departure of Angus Ta’avao to the Waratahs in 2015, while 26 year-old Reds second rower Ben Matwijow and New Zealand Under 20s representative Fin Hoeata replenish the locking stocks that were diminished by injuries to James Broadhurst, Riki Hoeata and Blade Thomson.

In the backs, 20-year-old Johnny Fa’auli adds depth to the midfield which boasts All Blacks Seta Tamanivalu and Charlie Ngatai. Exciting backs Marty McKenzie and Sean Wainui return after impressive performances for the Crusaders while 19-year-old Spotswood United winger Manasa Mataele, All Blacks Sevens representative Declan O’Donnell and promising New Zealand Under 20s representative Stephen Perofeta complete the backline additions for 2016. Together with All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Waisake Naholo, the Taranaki backline shapes as one of the more dynamic in the competition.

Two familiar faces return to Taranaki in 2016. Lock Leon Power rejoins the Port Taranaki Bulls after honing his trade most recently with French club Oyonnax. All Blacks Sevens and Clifton utility back Beaudein Waaka will also don the amber and black jersey this season, adding to his 11 caps for the province.

FORWARDS

Mitchell Graham (23)
Reuben O’Neill (3)
Ryan Cocker (25)
Mike Kainga*
Jared Proffit (1)
Rhys Marshall (30)
Sione Lea (38)
Leon Power (23)
Ben Matwijow*
Fin Hoeata*
Leighton Price (10)
Mitchell Crosswell (31)
Mitchell Brown (15)
Berny Hall (32)
Lachlan Boshier (9)
Toa Halafihi (13)
Iopu Iopu-Aso (14)

BACKS
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (11)
Kylem O’Donnell (16)
Marty McKenzie (16)
Sean Wainui (12)
Seta Tamanivalu (37)
Charlie Ngatai (20)
Johnny Fa’auli*
Latu Vaeno (11)
Manasa Mataele*
Stephen Perofeta*
Declan O’Donnell*
Beaudein Waaka (11)
Jackson Ormond (50)
Waisake Naholo (31)
Beauden Barrett (26)

Injury Cover:
Isaia Tuifua (33)

()= Port Taranaki Bulls caps
*= denotes debut for Taranaki

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