Attached is the 2022 Northland Futures Squad which will contest the Blues Cup starting on the 5th Feb
I will post the draw in the next few days once it is confirmed
Other teams involved NZ Babas,North Harbour and the Blues U20
Mason Hohaia *Hooker (Kamo ) Northland Futures 2021 Northland Taniwha 2019/2020/2022
Mason has been around the Northland Taniwha squad for around 3 seasons without really cracking it ,make or break season for the Kamo the Kamo no2
Puru Aboagye *Hooker (Awanui) @ Northland Futures)
Young player who eyes have been on for the last couple of seasons. .has all the physical attributes ,been described as a ball of muscle
but like most promising players running around in the far north , needs to move further south
Valance Yates *Hooker (Ex St Kentigern College ) Junior Wallabies 2021
Originally from Kaeo ,Yates played for St Kentigern College in Auckland , he moved across to Sydney playing premier rugby for Randwick and then made the Junior Wallabies last year.
Great to see Valance Yates return to Northland whilst he is not overlly tall looks very solid and throws good darts on the video footage i have seen also hits hard in the tackle and has an eye for the tryline .
Cody Aull *Hooker (Whangarei Boys High)
Very good athlete with a superb attitude
Craven Martin * Prop (Ngati Hine Moerewa/UK) Northland Futures 2021
Another young prop who benefited on the back of a strong club season ,was also a Nortland trialist
Zac Willy *prop (Western Sharks)
Only 18 or 19 , is highly regarded by many people I have spoken to including Sharks head coach Peter Hugo who did such a great job with premiership winning team in 2022
JT Pont Bellamy * (Kelston Boys ) Blues U18
Another Kaitaia lad who played impressed for the Auckland schools A1 champions Kelston
Elise Fono *Prop (Horahora) Northland Futures Blues 20
I once labelled Elise Fono a man child when I first saw him playing as a 17 year old at number 8 for Horahora Premiers
Brilliant build for a loose head prop , impressed for the Northland Futures in 2021 ,which propelled Fono into the Blues Under 20 team , disappointing that he did not get more game time at the Under 20s Super Tournament in Taupo .
Got a ton of potential.
Samuel Harper *Prop (Kerikeri )
Don’t know much about this young player , hoping that someone from the Northland area can help out
TJ Waitai Roberts * Prop (Kaitaia College) Kaitaia RFC North Zone Maori
Saw TJ playing in the North Zone V South Zone Māori colts game in 2021
A very big lad with very good ball skills
Tavita Faukafa *Lock/8 (Western Sharks) Northland Futures 2021 #Northland Taniwha
Ex Rotorua Boys High ,moved to Taranaki and was part of the Bulls Dev programne but came north for the 2021 club season moving to the Western Sharks where Faukafa for such a man lead by his actions on the field ,his form got him into the Northland Taniwha team where ironically he impressed in the unfamiliar number 8 postion.
I suspect moving forward,number 8 will be his permanent position.
Inoke Tavutu Lock/6 (Western Sharks ) Northland Northland Dev 2021
Damaging runner with ball hand , looks more of a 6 than a lock for mine
Physically imposes himself in the close quarter stakes
love the way this guy plays the game
Tu’ukalikali (Kali)Vaipulu *Lock Bay Of Plenty Steamers (Chiefs U20)
Played for the Chiefs U20 team last year , took a look at him playing against the Hurricanes U20 from last year in Taupo is a seriously big human being 6’7 and bulk to match , looks around the 118kg mark but could do with some more conditioning Made the Steamers squad in 2021 after a spate of injuries ,has moved back to Kaikohe to be close to his grandparents , Bop had actually signed him for 2 years , so BOPs loss is Northlands gain ..massive potential
Ño Ñga Tausinga *Lock (Western Sharks)
Was part of the 2021 Western Sharks squad after moving North from
Terepai King *Lock ( Mid Northern) Northland Futures Northland Dev #Northland Taniwha
Terepai made his debut for the Taniwha in their final hit out against Shield Snorters at McLean Park
Put on some weight from the previous year and is developing nicely
Rory Woods , *Lock (Patricks College ) Wellington
It’s fair to say , I don’t know much about this lad.
The information I have dug up , he’s made Wellington age group teams , Hurricanes U18 Māori Hurricanes 7s ,which suggests he’s mobile
Zac Shanks no 7 (Mid Northern) Northland Futures 2021
Light weight no7 with an engine to match , will need to bulk up but has plenty of game to match his mobility
Tomislov Baker no 6/8 (Mid Northern) Northland Futures 2021 Northland Dev
Big hearted player , not entirely sure where he fits in the grand scheme, but has a great ending and is not shy to put in a massive hit
Sage Walters Hansen no 6/7 (Wellsford) Northland Futures 2021 Northland Dev 2021
Another player who is a workhorse , maybe better suited to 7
Thomas Anderson no 8/6 ( Western Sharks)
Superb athlete who gives his all , has been around Northland age group teams and benefited playing at number 8 for a very good sharks pack in 2021
Rob Rush *7/6 (Mid Northern) Northland Futures # Northland Taniwha 2022/2021
Looked promising in the 7 jersey until injury put paid to his season
Debuted for the Taniwha in the number 6 jersey in 2020
Kobe Walters *looseforward (Kamo Rugby Club) Blues U18
Saw Kobe playing for South Zone Māori colts last year , has just made the NZ Māori U18 team ,has grown in the last year ,has a build similar to Northland legend Gus Collins
Malino Fotu * 8/6 ( Chiefs U20 2021) Northland U20
Another player who represented the champion Chiefs U20 in 2021 , rangy athlete who impressed enough people when he moved North mid season and played outstandingly for the Northland colts team .
Tom Strachan *Halfback ( Grammar Tech) Auckland B
Transferred from Auckland ,very tidy efficient halfback , not overly big
Kane Pomare *Halfback (Dargaville HS) Kaihu Valley ;Western Sharks
Young halfback who not long out of school went from the reserve team Kaihu Valley to the premier team Western Sharks to winning a premiership final and now the Northland Taniwha futures team
Johnny Cooper *First Five (Mid Northern) Northland Futures 2021 #Northland Taniwha 2020/2021
Moved North in 2020, finally got an opportunity against Waikato in his home town Kaikohe where he
stamped his presence with a near flawless performance, followed that performance with a superb outing against Otago in the Championship semi final in Dunedin , picked up an injury in that particular game and after returning out of condition for the 2021 season , never quite regained the trust of the coaches .
For me personally having seen what Johnny is capable of , if he can find his confidence and get his conditioning right , I have no doubt he has all the tools to become a very good provincial first five that can carve out a long career.
Kobie Scutt *First Five (Kelston Boys HS) Blues U18
Steered Kelston Boys around brilliantly in the no 10 jersey as part of a superb Kelston Boys HS team that took out the 2021 title ..Kaitaia Boy
Himiona Manuel * 2nd five (Mid Northern) Northland Dev 2021
Solid club form for Mid Northern in 2021 , played well for the Northland Dev team against
Ngati Porou East Coast where he constantly got over the advantage line proving hard to pull down
Toby Bell * Centre (Kerikeri HS ) Blues U18
Year 13 student at Kerikeri, has high potential level placed on him, so has been bought into futures training squad .one to watch moving forward
Liam Colley 2nd Five (Kerikeri)
Young player who had his first full year of senior rugby in 2021 , local Kerikeri lad ,cousin of Coree Te Whata Colley ..Liam is only around 21 or 22, brilliant build for a 2nd five ,looks around the 96kg mark had a stint in league , so still finding his feet , powerful on the carry.
Kalani Going *Midfielder (Mid Northern) Northland Futures 2021 #Northland Taniwha 2020/2021
has been around the # Northland Taniwha squad for the last 2 seasons more as injury cover ,whilst Kalani plays more of his rugby at centre I see this solidly built player as more of a 2nd five
Rome Levi Wing/Centre (Awanui) Northland Futures 2021 Northland Dev 2021
Powerfully built , Always a handful at club level , probably needs to joined a stronger competition with the greatest respect to the local far North comp
Lucas Payne *Wing (Dargaville HS) Blues under 18 2021
Also turned out for Kaihu Valley who the were reserve grade team for Western Sharks
Ginger with genuine pace ,could have played for the premier rugby for the 2021 champions Western Sharks but is being bought through gently
Josh Davis *Fullback (Ngati Hine UK/Moerewa) Northland Futures 2021 /Northland Dev 2021
Good club form in 2021 , also kicks goals
Ryan Nankivell *Utility (Ngati Hine Moerewa/UK) Northland Futures 2021 Blues U18/U20
Talented allround player who can play anywhere in the backline
Tama Anderson *Fullback (Mt Albert Grammar ) Blues U18 NZ Condor 7s
Another player returning home after schooling in Auckland
exciting young player with a great rugby brain , I do wonder if Tama will end up closer to the scrum .
One player to be added to be added to the squad
@steven-harris NRU have been posting up pics/clips of these lads putting in the mahi over the past few weeks along with some of the senior fellas, promising signs.
A few extra names for me to keep an eye on at club games (where I'll probably have to sit in my car or stand 100m away...
@steven-harris forgot to say, Kobe Walters is one to keep an eye on, has a huge engine.
2 years out of school I think (last year may have been his first year out of school?) started in the Kamo Reserves, injuries saw him get a shot in the prems at 8 and never looked back, saw him a few months back and he looks to have bulked up too, which is a surprise given his dad is more in the Ian Jones build haha
Have heard good things about Lucas Payne, but he didnt play when I saw the Sharks last year.
As I already said, the work they are putting into these guys is certainly promising!
A very windy humid Saturday afternoon at the outer ground at Albany Stadium
greeted both the visiting Northland Taniwha Futures Development team and the North Harbour Knights Development .
It was the home team with the use of a very strong north easterly that wasted little time breaking out from deep inside their own half virtually from kick off.
The ball was moved nicely to the flanks with a centering kick bouncing away from the scrambling Northland defence ,a harbour hand got the touch down for the first score.
Harbour repeated the dose several minutes later with similar move from deep , no 8 Jayden Masters recieving the final pass from 40 metres out showing some good pace to touch down, try converted and the visitors were 0-14 down after 10 minutes .
Harbour were showing the benefit of a hit out the week before , for all of the Northland boys the shock of a first up start to the season was very apparent with two missed defensive reads leading to the early touch downs for the home teams.
The scrum which had been under pressure early started to gain parity and lay a platform to at least create some pressure .
Some strong carries in the forwards by Esile Fono ,Craven Martin and Tomi Baker in the forwards and in the backs Himi Manuel ran straight and direct lead which to Harbour indiscipline at breakdown.
Northland had a strong 20 minute period in the Harbour 22 ,with numerous assaults through the forwards failing to find the white line .
Harbour were rewarded for their staunch defence stinging Northland 5 minutes before halftime off a lineout set piece just outside the 22
Despite their toll and hard work for a good 20 minutes , the Taniwha found themselves 0-19 down at the break.
The Taniwha with the wind behind them in the 2nd half did’nt take long to get back in the game picking up a couple of converted tries in the first 15 minutes, replacement loose forward Inoke Tauvatu highlighting his power close to the tryline after some great lead up work up phase work from the forwards especially .
This period of play was also the Taniwha Futures best period of the game with Tama Anderson hitting a hole after a superb pass after sustained period of pressure.
14-19 with 20 minutes to the win was on ,unfortunately the visitors failed to secure valuable lineout possession and field position required to strike a final blow ,the last real opportunity going astray with a miss directed pass comimg off a strong Tevita Faukafa break .
North Harbour for one of the few occasions in the 2nd half icing the victory with a strong lineout drive try
The Northland Futures squad will be all the better for the hitout when they take on the NZ Barbarians at the same venue next Saturday
Full credit to visitors who fronted up with only 3 props after a late withdrawl, Esile Fono,Craven Martin and the highly promosing JT Pont Bellamy who only a year out of Kelston Boys more than held his own at scrum time and is one to watch over the coming years.
Tevita Faukafa,Inoke Tauvatu and Esile Fono were willing ball carriers with Sharks team mates Faukafa and Tauvatu alway getting over the advantage line.
Loose forwards Tomi Baker,Zac Shanks and replacement Sage Walters Hansen were willing workers , newcomers to the Taniwha region Rory Woods and Malino Fotu also displayed plenty of promise Woods who came on in the 2nd half is in the Dan Pryor mould but a tad taller around 6’3 6’4 mark , very athletic , Woods who packed down at number 8 has great game sense and makes very good decisions and is also a fantastic option at lineout time ,Malino Fotu who has represented the Chiefs U20 last year also showed some very good touches .
In the backs both halfbacks Tom Strachan and Kane Pomare were both solid and good moments .
Johnny Cooper who skippered the team was solid at first five and his replacement Kobie Scutt displayed some very promising signs throwing some nice long passes and showing hes not afraid to take the line on ,further out both Himi Manuel and Kalani Going were impressive , Manuel with his no nonsense hitups and Kalani Going making a superb break which led to a try , Going who looks in condition suggested to me it was all the work he was doing on the farm.
Liam Colley,Josh Davis and Ryan Nankivell all had their moments ,the latter two in the 2nd half especially .
One player who hardly put a foot wrong was Tama Anderson, looks totally comfortable with ball in hand and has footwork to match ,capped a fine game with a try .
In summary when you compare this programe from a year ago , there will be in my opinion several youngsters on the radar for this years Blues U20 coaches to have a look at and i have no doubt several on radar for the Northland Taniwha coaches to look at before the team is eventually named.
In the earlier game The Blues U20 after a slow start conceeding a couple of early tries finished over the top of the NZ Babas 22-14
A couple impressive performers in the Blues 20s were hooker Jordon Hutchings from Dargaville and former Whangarei Boys High lock Josh Beehre
Really liked the look of 2nd five Leo Gordon, (Palmerston North Boys) looks around the 95-100kg mark 6’1 ,scored a brilliant individual try showing plenty of pace..
2 lads who played for Waitemata U20s last year also showed plenty of promise ..number 8 Victor Olaaiga stands around 6’3 and his team mate from Waitemata last year Ale Aho at 6’7 118kgs is a seriously big human being
Only down side was a serious injury to flanker Cam Church ..hearing might be an ACL, hoping it is not as a bad as what i was hearing.
@steven-harris cheers for that!
No way should Cooper be in the 'futures' squad, given he is in his 3rd? season for Norhtland, but when the coaches are in love with Hawkins, the fact he has stuck about after being messed about in the NPC side is a testament to him.
The little I have seen of Nankivell I like, is a big lad, looks to have a bit of time when he does stuff, did he play 10?
It was bad enough doing nothing in that oppressive humidity yesterday afternoon, let alone playing rugby in it!
@taniwharugby what they did was made him captain to bring him out of his shell and have the confidence to drive a game with younger guys around him ..and you could actually hear him talking to the backs which was pleasing and a great ball which put Tama Anderson in space ,.the good thing about this programme , we have several kids on the radar for the Blues under 20 ..which is unprecedented for Northland Rugby .
@steven-harris I'm just glad he is sticking around, certainly has the game, just needs to be given a decent run by the coaches, rather than dropped and chopped all the time, I mean if they gave him the same rope they gave Hawkins in the last few years...
2022 Northland Futures Squad