Manawatu Academy for 2020 confirmed

Manawatu Academy for 2020 confirmed

Manawatu has locked in a strong core of future stars with the confirmation of the Manawatu Rugby Union Academy squad for 2020.

The squad features 15 players including six returning from 2019 and will be led by the MRU’s player development manager Eneliko Fa’atau.

Fa’atau joined the union in October replacing Doug Tietjens. His extensive resume includes playing for the Samoan Sevens and coaching roles at Irish clubs Dundalk and Corinthians.

Returning to the Manawatu academy are Turbos Josiah Maraku, Stewart Cruden, Drew Wild and Tyler Laubscher.

The quartet all made their Turbos debuts in their first years out of school and were recently involved in New Zealand Under 20s testing.

All four will also form part of the Turbos squad for 2020.

Also returning are promising Varsity duo Flyn Yates and Bryn Wilson.

Yates, a hooker, and Wilson, a halfback, are both from Palmerston North Boys’ High School.

New Zealand Secondary Schools hooker Ben Strang headlines the first-year members of the academy.

The highly regarded Whanganui Collegiate star has signed with the Turbos for 2020.

Strang also took part in New Zealand Under 20 testing.

Feilding High School lock TK Howden will also double as an academy and Turbos squad member.

Howden played for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Barbarians XV in 2019 and is also comfortable on the side of the scrum.

Prop Joseph Gavigan was also part of the New Zealand Secondary Schools Barbarians side.

The captain of the Manawatu Premier One champion Manukura 1st XV had a standout 2019.

New Zealand Secondary Schools Barbarians flanker Julian Goerke joins Manawatu from national 1st XV champions Hasting Boys’ High School.

The powerful South African born loose forward also spend time at lock in schools rugby.

Jason Myers has joined the region from Whanganui where he was part of the province’s Heartland squad.

The openside flanker, formerly of Whanganui Collegiate, was named MVP of the Hurricanes Heartland Under 20s in 2019 and was a standout for the New Zealand Heartland Under 19s at the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19s.

Ofa Ta’uatevalu was also part of the Hurricanes Heartland Under 20s programme.

The Gisborne Boys’ High School lock trained with the Poverty Bay Heartland team despite still being at school and represented his province at the Central Regional Sevens.

Hooker Sase Va’a comes into the province after a strong season in the Scots College 1st XV.

Palmerston North Boys’ High School Midfielder Chance Malu has also signed with the academy after proving to be one of the school’s most dangerous attacking weapons.

First five-eighth Te Atawhai Mason has also signed on from Whanganui Collegiate.

Strang, Va’a, Mason, Howden, Gavigan, Goerke, Ta’uatevalu and Malu were all part of the 2019 Hurricanes Under 18 camp.