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Chiefs bring in brother of All Black plus a swathe of young talents

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Mason Tupaea. (Photo by Stephen Barker/Photosport)

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The Gallagher Chiefs are now immersed in their pre-season training ahead of this year’s Super Rugby Pacific competition. Joining them for their pre-season campaign are five national development contracted players alongside fifteen replacement players.

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The national development contracted players have been identified as prospective Gallagher Chiefs. Amongst the five talented individuals are props Mason Tupaea and Josh Bartlett. Tupaea impressed for Waikato at NPC level and is the younger brother of Gallagher Chief and All Black midfielder Quinn Tupaea. While Bartlett hails from the Bay of Plenty and is joined by fellow teammates, loose forward Nikora Broughten and openside flanker Veveni Lasaga. Taranaki halfback Adam Lennox completes an impressive group of young talent.

Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan said it is excellent to have the group of players on board to assist the squad for their pre-season preparation.

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“We are excited to have an eager and talented group of young men join the Gallagher Chiefs on National Development contracts for the 2022 season. All of them have been identified as having high potential, and total immersion in a full-time professional environment will help accelerate their development”.

“We want these men to be Gallagher Chiefs in the future, and there is no better education than rubbing shoulders with All Blacks and seasoned professionals who understand intimately what it takes to not only survive, but thrive at this level of the game”.

The fifteen replacement players have been recruited largely from within Chiefs Country to cover the All Blacks on leave. The bulk of the replacement players on hand are providing cover for the Gallagher Chiefs forward pack.

Following a successful NPC campaign, Waikato props George Dyer and Rob Cobb will be joined by Taranaki prop Jared Profit alongside Auckland hooker Leni Apisai and Waikato hooker Solomone Tukuafu as front row cover.

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A strong contingent of locks and loose forwards will ably cover for the absent All Blacks. Locking cover will be provided by Northland’s Liam Hallam Eames, Waikato’s Hamilton Burr and Auckland’s Hamish Dalzell.

Following impressive NPC campaigns for their respective provinces, three loose forwards will round out the forwards replacement players. These include Taranaki’s Tom Florence, Waikato Captain Mitchell Jacobson and Northland’s Sam McNamara.

Taranaki halfback Logan Crowley will be joined by Bay of Plenty midfielder Lalomilo Lalomilo, Waikato winger Liam Coombes-Fabling and Manawatu’s utility back Taniela Filimone.

McMillan added, “We also welcome a number of players who are in the squad as replacement players for All Blacks through the pre-season. Many of them could consider themselves unlucky not to have secured full-time contracts. But the competitiveness of the competition means we are highly likely to use players outside our fully contracted group, and the men with us at the moment are doing a great job of advancing their cause through the effort they are putting in.”

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The full 2022 Gallagher Chiefs Squad will assemble in early February, following the All Blacks return.

Replacement Players:

George Dyer (Waikato)

Hamilton Burr (Waikato)

Hamish Dalzell (Auckland)

Jared Profit (Taranaki)

Lalomilo Lalomilo (Bay of Plenty)

Leni Apisai (Auckland)

Liam Coombes-Fabling (Waikato)

Liam Hallam Eames (Northland)

Logan Crowley (Taranaki)

Mitchell Jacobson (Waikato)

Rob Cobb (Waikato)

Sam McNamara (Northland)

Solomone Tukuafu (Waikato)

Taniela Filimone (Manawatu)

Tom Florence (Taranaki)

National Development Players:

Adam Lennox (Taranaki)

Josh Bartlett (Bay of Plenty)

Mason Tupaea (Waikato)

Nikora Broughten (Bay of Plenty)

Veveni Lasaqa (Bay of Plenty)

– Chiefs Rugby

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