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With a new coach on board and plenty of local talent to call on, Otago are shaping as one of the key contenders in the Championship division for 2020.

Coach: Tom Donnelly

Home Ground: Forsyth Barr Stadium

2019: Third in Championship

Talking points

There will be no shortage of pride in the Otago jersey this year with former Otago and Highlanders stalwart Tom Donnelly taking over the head coaching role from Ben Herring. Donnelly achieved many highlights in his playing career from making 15 appearances for the All Blacks to lifting the Ranfurly Shield for Otago in 2013. There have also been some notable gains in the playing group with Tongan international Nasi Manu and 130kg prop Jamie Mackintosh signing on to Otago for the first time in their career. Otago have named an exciting backline with hard hitting midfielder Patelesio Tomkinson, electric wing Jona Nareki, classy play-maker Josh Ioane and sevens star Vilimoni Koroi the headline acts.

Player to watch

Although the Otago backline is stacked with game-breaking talent, no one will be more pivotal to Otago’s chances this year than impressive hooker Liam Coltman. The 30-year-old rake was behind Ash Dixon in the pecking order for the Highlanders during Super Rugby Aotearoa this year and will be eager to impress with a starting role for Otago. Coltman has played eight Tests for the All Blacks since his debut in 2016 and will use the Mitre 10 Cup campaign as a chance to press his claims for national honours once again.

Otago squad

Forwards: Jonah Aoina, George Bower, Josh Hohneck, Jamie Mackintosh, Hisa Sasagi, Henry Bell, Liam Coltman, Ricky Jackson, Josh Dickson, Josh Hill, Grayson Knapp, Jack Regan, Will Tucker, Charles Elton, Samuel Fischli, Christian Leo-Wille, Tavake (Nasi) Manu, Slade McDowall, Sione Misiloi, Dylan Nel, Sean Withy

Backs: James Arscott, Kayne Hammington, Harrison Boyle, Levi Emery, Josh Ioane, Vilimoni Koroi, Giovanni Leituala, Aleki Morris-Lome, Josh Timu, Patelesio Tomkinson, Matt Whaanga, Michael Collins (C), Taylor Haugh, Jona Nareki, Mitchell Scott, Freedom Vahaakolo


Sam Gilbert, James Lentjes, Saula Ma’u, Thomas Umaga-Jensen

Otago draw

Otago v Auckland

Saturday 12 September 4.35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium

Manawatu v Otago

Sunday 20 September 2.05pm, CET Arena, Palmerston North

Taranaki v Otago

Sunday 27 September 2.05pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

Otago v Hawke’s Bay

Sunday 4 October 4.35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium

Wellington v Otago

Saturday 10 October 4.35pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Otago v Counties Manukau

Sunday 18 October 2.05pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium

Otago v Northland

Friday 23 October 7.05pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium

Canterbury v Otago (RS)

Friday 30 October 7.05pm, Orangetheory Stadium

Southland v Otago

Friday 6 November 7.05pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

Otago v Tasman

Saturday 14 November 4.35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium

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