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Top Nelson Bays players a part of Cecil Shield clash [Nelson Mail]

The heat’s been turned up on this year’s Queen’s Birthday weekend Cecil Shield representative rugby clash between Nelson Bays and Marlborough, with Tasman’s contracted players now eligible to compete.

The Car Company Nelson Bays’ 28-man squad was announced this week and includes five contracted Makos players and another three with previous ITM Cup experience.

Robbie Malneek, Mitchell Scott, Tevita Cavubati, Alex Ainley and Siua Halanukonuka are signed with the union for this year’s ITM Cup campaign, with former Makos Shaun Begg, Reuben Northover and Kaide Whiting among a host of players on the fringe of selection.

Nelson Bays hold the trophy, following last year’s tight 32-22 win at Lansdowne Park, which they’ll defend at Trafalgar Park on Monday, June 2.

Players eligible for this year’s Tasman under-19 squad were not considered for selection. And as the contracted players will not be available for Nelson Bays’ Seddon Shield campaign or for the South Island tournament, a new squad will be selected at the end of the club season on July 19.

According to Tasman Makos’ head coach Kieran Keane, the selectors decided to include Tasman’s contracted players this year to help increase the competitiveness of the annual fixture and to help fringe players measure themselves against players of ITM Cup quality.

“The best way to do that is to put the contracted players that aren’t in Super rugby in there and then you can measure apples with apples,” Keane said.

“We want to see who the competitive individuals are. And if the those individuals don’t front to the level that’s required, then that says to us, these boys aren’t ready to step into premiership rugby and we might have to go and look elsewhere.”

The Nelson Bays squad will meet for training downstairs at TRU headquarters on Monday at 6pm.

Gates open at 1.30pm for a 2pm kick-off and entry is free.

THE CAR COMPANY NELSON BAYS SQUAD
Ben Sadrugu (Kahurangi), Nathan Baxter, Shaun Begg, Daniel Hytongue, Latham Jones, Reuben Northover (Marist), David Havili, Robbie Malneek, Mitchell Scott, Mitchell Thwaites, Christian Tupuola, Ben Tyler (Nelson), Kahu Tamatea (Stoke), Ben Coman, Tevita Cavubati, Sam Franklin, Peter Samu, Jerome Vaai, Kaide Whiting (WOB), Alex Ainley, Kerehama Barrett, Siua Halanukonuka, Trael Joass, Tyler Kearns, Mike Lattin, Tone Ng Shiu, Dwayne Polataivao, Steve Soper (Wanderers).

Story Source : http://www.tasmanrugby.co.nz/

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