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9 All Blacks and an England international named in Canterbury NPC squad

By Ian Cameron
Sam Whitelock of Canterbury takes the field to warm up during the round five Bunnings NPC match between Wellington and Canterbury at Sky Stadium, on October 08, 2021, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Nine current or former All Blacks and an ex England international have been named in the Canterbury NPC squad for the 2022 campaign.

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Will Heinz, who won 13 caps for England and appeared at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, is included in Marty Bourke’s squad. The 35-year-old left Worcester Warriors in March with immediate affect.

Exciting Fiji international Manasa Mataele is also named. There are three newcomers as well in the shape of former New Zealand Under 20 representatives George Bell, Seb Calder and Joel Lam.

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The Eddie Jones rant
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The Eddie Jones rant

“The talent that is in the Canterbury region is a testament to the work that’s going on at Club level and the pathways that are regularly producing players who are ready to take the next step in their careers,” said new Head Coach Marty Bourke. “I’m really excited about the next 14 weeks.”

“Whether it’s stepping up to NPC or tapping on the door of International or Super Rugby, there’s no better place to showcase your talent than NPC and I think that’s what excites me about this campaign. Bridgey and Braydon, along with the rest of the squad, have the chance to ensure people are taking notice of how capable they are.”

Breakdown coach Matt Todd spoke on immense talent within the group. “Reed, Tom, Cully and Billy are all born and bred Cantabrians. They are itching to pull that red and black jersey on and represent our people.”

CANTERBURY NPC SQUAD:
Liam Allen – Lincoln University
George Bell – Lincoln University
Finlay Brewis – HSOB
George Bridge – HSOB
Fergus Burke – University of Canterbury
Seb Calder – Lincoln University
Tom Christie – Christchurch
Sam Darry – HSOB
Mitchell Drummond – HSOB
Mitchell Dunshea – Springston
Braydon Ennor – University of Canterbury
Chay Fihaki – Burnside
Zach Gallagher – Burnside
Dominic Gardiner – Marist Albion
Cullen Grace – Lincoln University
Alex Harford – HSOB
Billy Harmon – New Brighton
Willi Heinz – Linwood
Oliver Jager – New Brighton
Corey Kellow – Lincoln University
Shilo Klein – HSOB
Joel Lam – Burnside
Daniel Lienert-Brown – HSOB
Manasa Mataele – Marist Albion
Brodie McAlister – Sydenham
Dallas McLeod – Christchurch
Richie Mo’unga – Linwood
Joe Moody – Lincoln
Fletcher Newell – Lincoln University
Rameka Poihipi – Lincoln University
Reed Prinsep – HSOB
Isaiah Punivai – Burnside
Ngatungane Punivai – Prebbleton
Luke Romano – Hurunui
Codie Taylor – Sydenham
Samuel Whitelock – Lincoln University
Tamaiti Williams – Burnside

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