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NORTH HARBOUR: PREVIEW 2020

Coach: Kieran Keane

Home ground: North Harbour Stadium

2019: Fifth in the Premiership

Talking points

History and homegrown roots loom large in North Harbour’s squad this year with a total of 16 players in the 32-man squad having attended high school in the North Harbour region. The squad has also retained the majority of players from 2019 when they finished fifth in the Premiership. Dillon Hunt stood out for the Highlanders in Super Rugby Aotearoa as the leading tackler in the competition and has continued his development by being named as captain of North Harbour for the 2020 season. Of note is that there are three sets of brothers in the squad; Cowley-Tuioti, Gerard and Xavier, Lotu and Fine Inisi as well as the Roots, Ethan and Jimmy.

Incoming players

Kade Banks, Mitchell Ryan, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black,Tamarau McGahan, Teague McIlroy, Tim Sail, Walter Fifita, Zane Turner

Outgoing players

Ben Nee-Nee (Japan), Harrison Groundwater (Canterbury), Luatangi Li (Northland), Mark Telea (Tasman),  Matt Duffie (Japan) Osea Qamasea (Unable to return from Fiji due to Covid-19)

Injured

James Parsons

Player to watch

Bryn Gatland showed his immense class during limited game time for the Highlanders during Super Rugby Aotearoa. With Josh Ioane and Mitch Hunt covering first five-eighth, Gatland was relegated to a bench role but made his mark with a clutch drop goal to upset the Chiefs in round one. It was reminiscent of the drop goal that Gatland struck to lift North Harbour to the Championship title in 2016. Gatland will be eager to make the most of more minutes in the 10 jersey for North Harbour and is sure to form an electric combination with his namesake Bryn Hall at halfback.

North Harbour squad

Forwards: Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Xavier Cowley-Tuioti, Tate Evans, Dillon Hunt ©, Lotu Inisi, Sione Mafileo, Nic Mayhew, Teague McElroy, Tamarau McGahan, Jacob Pierce, Ethan Roots, Jimmy Roots, Mitchell Ryan, Tim Sail, Murphy Taramai, Luteru Tolai, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Zane Turner

Backs: Tomas Aoke, Kade Banks, Walter Fifita, Bryn Gatland, Lewis Gjaltema, Bryn Hall, Jack Heighton, Fine Inisi, James Little, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Brad McNaughten, Jared Page, Shaun Stevenson, Asaeli Tikoirotuma

North Harbour draw

  • North Harbour v Canterbury
  • Friday 11 September 7.05pm, North Harbour Stadium

  • Waikato v North Harbour
  • Saturday 19 September 2.05pm, FMG Stadium Waikato

  • Southland v North Harbour
  • Saturday 26 September 4.35pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

  • North Harbour v Tasman
  • Sunday 4 October 2.05pm, North Harbour Stadium

  • North Harbour v Hawke’s Bay
  • Sunday 11 October 2.05pm, North Harbour Stadium

  • Wellington v North Harbour
  • Sunday 18 October 4.35pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

  • North Harbour v Auckland
  • Saturday 24 October 7.05pm, North Harbour Stadium

  • Northland v North Harbour
  • Saturday 31 October 7.05pm, Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei

  • North Harbour v Counties Manukau
  • Saturday 7 November 4.35pm, North Harbour Stadium

  • Bay of Plenty v North Harbour
  • Sunday 15 November 2.05pm, Tauranga Domain

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