Magpies - 2019 Mitre 10 Cup



  • Not long, until this year's draw will be announced.
    After the news of Tiaan Falcon's long-term injury, which may see him miss the beginning (if not all) of the 2019 season, I decided to have a look at what has - until now - been published about player signings, either by the HBRU or in the HBT.

    Let me start with repeating what HBRU CEO Jay Campbell said (according to the HBT on 25 October): "he believed all of this season's squad would be available next season but it would be up to Ozich and Syms who they wanted".

    Not sure whether this is really the case, or wishfull thinking. Players may move on after missing out on an SR contract, taking other opportunities (e.g., JJ Taulagi in France). We also know from previous seasons that usually the majority of imports doesn't stick around. Of course, that may be different this year.

    Anyway, I've checked my notes on signings, and this is my list:

    2018 squad - contract status

    Prop
    Joe Apikotoa (TH)
    Mark Braidwood (LH)
    Tim Farrell (LH)
    Jason Long (LH, also hooker)
    Ben May (TH) - signed
    Pouri Rakete-Stones (TH)
    Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe - don't know whether he's signed on the same terms as the other former Hastings 1st XV national champs

    Hooker
    Jacob Devery
    Ash Dixon - signed
    Kianu Kereru Symes (also prop) - signed
    Ben Power

    Lock
    Michael Allardice - ? (SR contract expires 2019)
    Geoff Cridge (also 6)
    Tom Parsons - signed
    Brodie Retallick - signed (but with ABs)
    Sam Ulufonua

    Loose forward
    Hannon Brighouse
    Gareth Evans (8, also 7) - ? (SR contract expires 2020/ ABs unlikely but possible)
    Devan Flanders (6/8) - signed
    Solomone Funaki (7)
    Josh Kaifa (7)
    Marino Mikaele-Tu'u (6/8) - ? (SR contract expires 2020)
    Fa'alemiga Selesele (7)
    Will Tremain (7)

    Halfback
    Folau Fakatava - signed
    Brad Weber - ? (SR contract expires 2020)

    First five-eighth
    Tiaan Falcon - signed (but when will he return from injury?)
    Lincoln McClutchie - signed

    Midfielder
    Pasqualle Dunn (12) - off contract
    Sasa Tofilau (12)
    Shae Tucker (13)

    Outside back
    Michael Buckley (wing)
    Mason Emerson (wing) - off contract
    Jonah Lowe (wing, also 13) - off contract
    JJ Taulagi (fullback, wing) -
    Danny Toala (fullback, also 12) - signed

    Utility back
    Stacey Ili (utility back: 13, also 10)

    Richard Buckman (utility back) - signed
    Israel Dagg (fullback, wing) - signed
    Sam McNicol (wing, fullback) - signed? (expected to return from injury)

    Liam Udy-Johns (no.8) - academy contract (the only one I know about)

    • I expect that those players whose contracts expire in 2020 (or later) will have a Magpies contract for 2019, too, but it hasn't been published as far as I know.
    • If they'll indeed play for us this year, it will most likely be the last Magpies' season for Richard Buckman and Israel Dagg. I also expect this to be the final season for Ash Dixon and Ben May.
    • It also wouldn't surprise me if Michael Allardice is going to try his luck overseas after this year's SR season.

    So, who's on your must-sign list? Where are the biggest gaps? Who do you definitely not want to be re-signed?

    Obviously, Jonah Lowe, Mason Emerson, Tim Farrell and Geoff Cridge are the must-signs for me. Josh Kaifa was handy, too. Youngsters such as Tavita-Metcalfe, Devery and Tremain need to be developed further, so I'd also like them re-signed. I'm inclined to say the same about Rakete-Stones. I'm not sure what went wrong for him in 2018; he didn't get many opportunities and I don't know why (I'm not sold on Apikotoa). Considering the overall shortage of good locks, I hope Allardice stays as well (even though I'm not his biggest fan, there aren't that many others to chose from).

    My major wish is to sign another good 10, with Falcon possibly out for the season (or at least the start of it). Ili at 10 was a disaster, and I can't see Dagg play there. McClutchie really needs to learn how to kick at goal. Toala can do the goalkicking, maybe Dagg, but for game management at 10 we're just "too light" if Falcon is out for most or all of the season.

    They had enough game time, but Power and Tofilau didn't convince me. If Bucky is back this season, we don't need Tofilau.

    For the future, I wonder whether Napier Boys' Tyrone (2) and Leo (13) Thompson indeed ended up in another province, or not; I'd like them on an academy contract.



  • @Stargazer The horse has probably bolted.
    Wellington (Hurricanes) look to be interested in HB players only if they can nab them as one of their own
    http://www.msprugby.co.nz/Site/Club/News-Events/Latest_News/thompson_twins_join_msp.aspx



  • @Higgins Dammit. Wellington schools can't beat Hawke's Bay schools, so Wellington steals our players as soon as they leave school. I blame the Canes. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr



  • Another option to consider is that the brothers chose to go there despite receiving an offer from HB.



  • @Stargazer said in Magpies - 2019 Mitre 10 Cup:

    @Higgins Dammit. Wellington schools can't beat Hawke's Bay schools, so Wellington steals our players as soon as they leave school. I blame the Canes. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr

    alt text

    'Don't worry, we'll take it from here.....'



  • @canefan You could have just as easily have posted that if they'd stayed in the Bay.



  • @Nepia said in Magpies - 2019 Mitre 10 Cup:

    @canefan You could have just as easily have posted that if they'd stayed in the Bay.

    It wouldn't have been any where near as funny though!



  • @Stargazer the Irony in your comment when Ben Power, Hannon Brighouse and Joe Apikotoa were all schooled in Wellington before you buggers poached them. 😛



  • It's now confirmed that JJ Taulagi won't come back to the Magpies. He has signed for 2 seasons with Top 14 club Agen, who are currently in the relegation zone of the competition (only Perpignan is worse).



  • @Canes4life said in Magpies - 2019 Mitre 10 Cup:

    @Stargazer the Irony in your comment when Ben Power, Hannon Brighouse and Joe Apikotoa were all schooled in Wellington before you buggers poached them. 😛

    Apikotoa is the only one of the leftovers from Wellington the Canes foisted on us that we actually want!





  • From the HBRU FB page:

    alt text



  • The home games look more imposing than the away games.



  • It looks like Hugh Renton is back in the bay,he played sevens for Havelock on Saturday and Sam Ulufonua has gone to Italy.



  • @kiwimatrix Yeah, I posted about Ulufonua in the Exodus thread. He's now playing for Verona in the Top 12; I assume he's in the frame to play for Tonga at the RWC, too.

    If Renton is staying (I guess we'll have to wait and see whether he'll play club rugby), I assume he'll be the prime candidate for the 7 jersey? With Kaifa (if he's still in the Bay) and Brighouse battling for one spot in the squad?



  • Caleb Makene should be a decent replacement for Tuilangi,imo.



  • @kiwimatrix said in Magpies - 2019 Mitre 10 Cup:

    Caleb Makene should be a decent replacement for Tuilangi,imo.

    Is he also back in the Bay? Or just wishful thinking?



  • @Nepia Yeah hes signed a 2 year deal.Theres an article in Hawkes bay today which also mentions Pasquale Dunn has gone back to Auckland and obviously Falcon is unavailable with injury. Ben Smith a north harbour sevens rep and Antonio Mikaele Tu,u are both playing club rugby in the bay and trying to get a magpies spot.



  • @kiwimatrix said in Magpies - 2019 Mitre 10 Cup:

    @Nepia Yeah hes signed a 2 year deal.Theres an article in Hawkes bay today which also mentions Pasquale Dunn has gone back to Auckland and obviously Falcon is unavailable with injury. Ben Smith a north harbour sevens rep and Antonio Mikaele Tu,u are both playing club rugby in the bay and trying to get a magpies spot.

    Awesome! Always good to have Bay boys come back home. Now we just have to convince the Canes to start selecting our players instead of favouring Wellingtonians.



  • @kiwimatrix Great news! I see that Ben Smith is a Hastings Boys 1st XV product, so also homegrown.


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