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Wellington club players in ITM Cup and Heartland Championship rugby

By Steven White –

Above: Southland Stag and Hurricane Cardiff Vaega crashing in to Tawa’s James So’oialo, who came off the bench for the Wellington Lions against Waikato on Saturday and whose brother Steven is assistant coach of Horowhenua -Kapiti in this year’s Heartland Championship getting underway this weekend.

As the representative season swings into full gear this coming weekend, with the start of the Heartland Championship and Women’s NPC competitions, here is our annual compilation of current and former Wellington club players playing in these competitions and in the ITM Cup.

At the ITM Cup level at least, the number of former Wellington club rugby players filling squad lists elsewhere is fewer than recent years. This is reflective of the wider competition in general which has a fresh-faced feel to it this year with many established players having recently retired or departed for overseas and a new batch of future stars now out to make their marks.

On the coaching front, former Petone midfield duo Tana Umaga and Jason O’Halloran are head ITM Cup coaches, at Counties Manukau and Manawatu respectively, while Tawa’s Steven So’oialo and OBU’s Paddy Gough are assistant coaches with the Horowhenua-Kapiti and Wairarapa-Bush Heartland sides.

The list below is not a definitive list. If players have been left out please comment below or email and we’ll add them in.

Hadleigh Parkes (Johnsonville)

Bay of Plenty
Mike Kainga (Petone)
Solomona Sakalia (MSP)
Samisoni Fisilau (Poneke)
Joe Royal (Poneke)
Paul Morris (Petone)

Michael Lealava’a (Wainuiomata, Petone)
Atilla Va’a (Wainuiomata)

Counties Manukau:
Rey Lee-lo (MSP)
Tana Umaga (Petone, coach)

Hawke’s Bay
Adrian Barone (Petone)
Ged Robinson (MSP)
Robbie Fruean (Northern United)
Ash Dixon (Wests Roosters)

Isaia Petelo (Marist St Pat’s)
Rawiri Broughton (Upper Hutt Rams)
Hamish Buick (Old Boys University)
Jim Morgan (Petone)
Robert Millar (Ories)
Steven So’oialo (Tawa, Assistant Coach)
Luke Harvey (Old Boys University)
Ha’amio Ahio (Johnsonville)

James Oliver (Old Boys University)
Jason O’Halloran (Coach, Petone)
Chris Eves (Wests Roosters, Johnsonville)
Lewis Marshall (Petone)
Kayne Hammington (Upper Hutt Rams)

North Harbour:
Hayden Triggs (Upper Hutt Rams)

Kurt Davies (Old Boys University)

Donald Brighouse (MSP)
Joe Latta (Poneke)
TJ Ioane (Old Boys University)
Buxton Popoalii (Non-playing squad member, Northern United)

Poverty Bay
Whetu Henry (Ories)

Lima Sopoaga (Old Boys University)
Cardiff Vaega (MSP)

James Broadhurst (Rimutaka)
Blade Thomson (Upper Hutt Rams/Wests Roosters)
Chris Smylie (Old Boys University/Northern United)
Charlie Ngatai (Poneke)

Marty Banks (Avalon)

Wairarapa Bush
Ben Aoina (Upper Hutt Rams)
Joe Beech (Old Boys University)
Thomas Fleming (Old Boys University)
Finnbarr Kerr-Newell (Old Boys University)
Andrew McWhirter (Old Boys University)
Paddy Gough (Assistant Coach, Old Boys University)

Lydia Dickins (Women’s, Old Boys University)

Darren Munro

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