Posted on July 21, 2016
New Stags coach Hoani MacDonald has started his tenure with a big call by leaving veteran prop Jamie Mackintosh out of his 28-man squad for the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup.
“He has been a fantastic leader and it is nothing to do with his rugby and his leadership. It is just a decision made by us as a group that we thought the timing was right with a changing of the guard," Macdonald said.
Eight players who have yet to play for Southland were named in the squad, including Lima Sopoaga’s younger brother Zek. The 21-year-old hooker moved south this year after struggling for opportunities in Wellington and has starred at club level in Southland.
Another feature of the squad is the return of halfback Jimmy Cowan in maroon colours for the first time since 2012. Cowan was set to retire from domestic rugby but answered an SOS when young halfback Liam Howley was ruled out for the season. The backline is further boosted by the arrival of New Zealand sevens star Dylan Collier from Waikato who will look to add some potency to the Stags outside backs.
Stags 2016 squad
Brayden Mitchell (c), Tim Boys, Jimmy Cowan, Dylan Collier, Elliot Dixon, Bill Fukofuka, Phil Halder, Wharenui Hawera, Keanu Kahukura, Peni Ravai, Mika Mafi, Mike McKee, Morgan Mitchell, Wade McRae, Guy Millar, Kieran Moffat, Mike Molloy, Aleki Morris, Junior Ngaluafe, Matthew Philip, James Schrader, Lima Sopoaga, Ezekiel Sopoaga, Mike Stewart, Shaun Stodart, Jaye Thompson Te Muunu, Tauasosi Tuimavave, Jahvis Wallace