I want to give you a look at how much depth we could have next year “IF” and this is a big if they wanted to or could come back next year, how good the NZSS team could be. Is it way to early to look at stuff like this? No, not at all because it’s something to think about as a player and something to look forward to as a fan. Now Im not saying all these players ARE coming back cause I know 100% that some are not but these are players that could because they will be U18 still next year. Think about it for a second both Caleb Clark (MAGS) and Billy Proctor (St Pats Town) both NZSS players last year, who could have both come back this year and they have both played Mitre 10 Cup this year, so think at how high our level of talent is in 1st XV Rugby is in NZ. I also think next year we will see 7-10 players from this NZSS team this year play Mitre 10 Cup next year.
I think that this team would make such a great team if they all came together next year and I just look at some of these guys and wonder “How are they this good at this young age?”. Tupou Vaa’i is the first one I would look at and most likely one I would put as the Captain of this team. Tupou showed right through this year what effect he has on a game and you saw in his game against the Australian SS team how much work he got through with taking the ball to the line, settling play, making tackles, cleaning out bodies and I thought his scrum game was strong behind those props as well. Another player who should be spoken about is Wellington College Lock Taine Plumtree who I think is very athletic and has very good ball skills for a player that big and fast as well. Taine and Tupou would make a very strong Locking combo if they both returned. Tupou I have heard has picked up a Taranaki contract and so they should be happy about picking up a massive asset like Tupou.
Pretty much everyone from 11-15 could come back and make such a massive difference to this NZSS back line, but only one for sure Isaiah Punivai will be back at school because he is only Year 12 this year. Think about how strong this back line will be with guys like Kienan Higgins who is from Silverstream so we know 100% he wont be back there next year, Dennon Robinson on the wing who is with BOP next year I am told and also James Stratton all in the back 3 for next year. Having 3 guys like this back will for sure make this so hard for the Australians to keep up with because they have to much speed, skill, power and size. Josiah Maraku who played in the Barbarians team this year with Kienan, James and Dennon would add so much skill and power to that midfield and with his ability to break the line and carry players with him Isaiah would have another strong player a long side him as he did this year.
The forwards will always be a strong pack and one that is always hard to pick because of how much talent we have and all our players can play with a lot of versatility as well that it’s really a hard one to pick. Andrew Viane from St Peters School I think had a strong stand out year this year and now knows whats needed to play at that level and the pace it needs to be played at and I think he’ll have a stand out year next year. Along side him is Josh Southall one of my bracketed players that I think will be the No.1 player in the Nation next year. Josh and Andrew would make a very good combo adding in Simon Parker who has showed that he can play at that level even coming from such a small school like Otamatea College. Tamati Williams, Saula Mau, Patrick Thacker and Pou Sorenson are the Props I have chosen for this team but with so many good Props next year its going to be a massive to watch as a front row fan and who stands out. I have Thomas Martin as a Loose Forward because I think he would go great there as a player, Alex McRobbie is another player I looking out for as a Lock to come through. Mill Sanerivi should move to Hooker next year, Louie Chapman is going to be a great leader from the South, Matt Timoko is a HOPE selection because he really could choose either and I think he would go great and dont sleep on Tevita Hala out of Dilworth School cause he can really “Ball Out”.
Again, just so we are all clear here these players may not return BUT if they did this is what I think could happen. The talent pool is huge here in NZ and your mates in the 1st XV that are elite are not far from Mitre 10 Cup talent.
1. Tamaiti Williams (St Kentigern College)
2. Miracle Lolofie (Hastings BHS)
3. Saula Mau (Auckland GS)
4. Taine Plumtree (Wellington College)
5. Tupou Vaa’i (Wesley College)(C)
6. Simon Parker (Otamatea College)
7. Joshua Southall (St Patrick’s College, Silverstream)
8. Andrew Viane (St Peters School Cambridge)
9. Taufa Funaki (Sacred Heart College)
10. Rivez Reihana (St Kentigern College)(VC)
11. Dennon Robinson (Hastings BHS)
12. Josiah Maraku (Feilding High School)
13. Isaiah Punivai (Christs College)
14. James Stratton (Palmerston North BHS)
15. Kienan Higgins (St Patrick’s College, Silverstream)
16. Patrick Thacker (Christs College)
17. Pou Sorenson (Rotorua BHS)
18. Millennium Sanerivi (King’s College)
19. Alexander McRobbie (St Kentigern College)
20. Thomas Martin (Hamilton BHS)
21. Louie Chapman (Christchurch BHS)
22. Tevita Hala 1st 5/8 (Dilworth School)
23. Matthew Timoko (Auckland GS)
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