An experienced Tasman Red Devils rugby team has been named to defend the prized Seddon Shield this season.
The Wadsco Motorworld Devils, who took the trophy, symbol of provincial rugby dominance in the top of the south off Buller last season, will defend it against West Coast in Murchison on Saturday, August 3.
If they are successful they will put the shield on the line against Buller, also in Murchison, on Sunday, August 11.
Provided they hold off both challengers the Devils will defend the trophy against a challenge from arch-rivals Nelson in Blenheim on Saturday, August 17.
The Devils squad includes several relative newcomers among the more experienced troops, notably East Coast loosie Jake Collins, Waitohi props Duane Aholelei and Losi Malimali, lock Dylan Burns, halfback Saia Tokai and utility back Daniel Samita, Central loosie Josh Chapman, utility back Nigel Satherley and prop Jeremy Foley, plus Moutere midfielder Aki Kaumauvae and lock Mike Tuipulotu.
Some of the leading light’s in last year’s successful campaign are back, including prop Seymour Lambert, centre Mike Vaeno, goal-kicking five-eighth Corey Bovey, flanker Braden Stewart, halfbacks Ben Finau and Nemia Ranuku, plus scoring machine Timoci Tavatavanawai out wide.
The 2019 Tasman Red Devils squad: Seymour Lambert, Billy Collins, Jake Collins, Nemia Ranuku, Ben Filipo (East Coast); Quinn Harrison-Jones, Naisa Taufa, George Tuineau, Mike Vaeno (Renwick); Duane Aholelei, Taimi Fangatua, Lose Malimali, Dylan Burns, Taine Cragg-Love, Saia Tokai, Corey Bovey, Daniel Samita (Waitohi); Braden Stewart, Jesse MacDonald, Josh Chapman, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Jake Cresswell, Gene Simmiss, Mitchell Smith, Simi Volavola, Nigel Satherley, Trance Poa, Jeremy Foley (Central); Ben Finau, Matt McCormick, Aki Kaumauvae, Mike Tuipulotu (Moutere). Coaches Mark Stewart and Baz Henare.
The 2019 Tasman Griffins side has also been named.
The Nelson-based team’s first game is against Buller in Murchison on Saturday August 3.
The Griffins squad is: Kent Strange, Tyler Jones, Nash Cooper (Collingwood); Qori Gucake, Joshua Te Hira, William Curnow, Tim Sail, Stein Schreiber, Vito Lammers (Kahurangi); Sam Moli, Leopino Maupese, Jake Wetere, Teu Sami, Julius Togafau, Hopo Taufa, Ryan Dafel, Caleb Havili, Jacob Norris, Taina Fox Matamua, Sam Briggs, Rahiri Witehira, Matthew Stevenson, Lote Saulekaleka (Marist); Christian Tupuola, Sosefo Vaka, Connor Higgins, Isaiah Miller Matt Soper, Nick Foxley (Nelson); Sam Lane, Kendall Hudson, Lachlan Doyle, Tim Dallison, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Anty Burnett, Declan Smith, Karl Ratcliffe, Charlie Chambers (Stoke); Tom Bassett-Eason (Takaka); Taine Lockwood (Valley Stags); Lemeki Cagialau, Tim Coman, Michael Stringer, Alex Coventry, Caleb Coventry, Mo Tau (Waimea Old Boys); Josh Grant, Fletcher Matthews (Wanderers).
They are halfback Ethan Jones and flanker Josh Chapman from the Central club, plus lock Daniel Jones, utility Jaydn Holdaway and hooker Sione Lonitenisi from Renwick.