Plenty of Port Taranaki Bulls in New Zealand squads 08 June 2017


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Plenty of Port Taranaki Bulls in New Zealand squads

Taranaki Rugby Football Union chief executive Michael Collins says the selection of nine Port Taranaki Bulls players in New Zealand squads to play the touring British and Irish Lions is a great reflection of the hard work and success of the Taranaki team in recent years.

The Barrett brothers – Beauden, Jordie and Scott – and wing Waisake Naholo have been named in the All Blacks’ 33-man squad to play Samoa and the three-test series against the Lions, while halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, lock Leighton Price, midfielder Charlie Ngatai, wing Declan O’Donnell, and prop Mike Kainga have been selected in coach Colin Cooper’s Maori All Blacks team to play the Lions, in Rotorua on 17 June.

With the selection of the Barretts, it will be the first time in All Blacks history that three brothers have been named in the same All Blacks squad. While first five-eighth Beauden –  World Rugby’s player of the year – and lock Scott have pulled on the black jersey, fullback Jordie was an apprentice on the All Blacks’ northern tour last year but did not play a test.

“It’s fantastic news for Jordie, and also Beauden and Scott. It will be very special for the three brothers to be together in the same squad, and I’m sure Smiley [dad Kevin], Robyn [mum] and the other members of the Barrett family will be very proud,” Collins said.

“Jordie has been playing great rugby for the Hurricanes this season, as has Beauden, while Scott has been one of the standout forwards of Super Rugby, playing for the Crusaders. It’s no surprise that all three have earned their spots in the squad. Waisake has also impressed, and was in great form scoring two tries for the Highlanders against the Crusaders last weekend.”

Collins said he was delighted that five Port Taranaki Bulls had been selected in the Maori All Blacks, and particularly pleased that centre Charlie Ngatai’s hard work and patience to overcome the effects of concussion had been rewarded with selection.

“Charlie has shown tremendous determination to return to rugby. It’s that sort of dedication and work ethic that runs throughout the Port Taranaki Bulls squad and has ultimately seen these players named for the All Blacks and Maori All Blacks,” Collins said.

Collins said Cooper, who will coach the Port Taranaki Bulls for the final time this Mitre 10 Cup season, had been instrumental in both the success of the individual players and the Taranaki team as a whole.

“Coops is an expert at identifying talent and developing that talent. He is also fantastic at creating an inclusive and winning team culture, which has allowed these players to shine for Taranaki and be noticed by Super Rugby squads and then selected for higher honours.

“We are extremely proud of these players and look forward to watching them represent New Zealand and Taranaki in the coming weeks,” Collins said.

In addition, Taranaki Rugby Academy member and Inglewood prop Alex Mitchell, has been called up to the New Zealand under-20 team that is currently contesting the under-20 World Cup in Georgia.