The North Harbour team for the season-opening Mitre 10 Cup match has been confirmed and has an exciting look about it to face the challenge of a strong Canterbury side.

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All of the forward pack has played Super Rugby with the front row being a more than capable unit and featuring All Blacks squad member Karl Tu’inukuafe as well as his Blues teammates Luteru Tolai and Sione Mafileo

Dillon Hunt will lead the team from the side of the scrum alongside Ethan Roots (Crusaders) and Murphy Taramai who was with the Hurricanes this year.

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Wings, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black and Walter Fifita will make their debut for the side. However, McGarvey-Black has played for the All Blacks Sevens since 2018 and could be a real handful if he gets space.

There are three experienced players in the backline with the two Bryns – Hall at halfback and Gatland at first-five – whilst Chiefs stalwart Shaun Stevenson will inject himself from fullback. The trio have played 78, 31 and 30 games respectively for Harbour over the years.

“We’re really looking forward to the challenge of the ‘Canterbury All Blacks’, they’ve got a pretty stacked team,” said coach Kieran Keane. “We’re looking forward to it and hope to do ourselves proud at home.

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“We’ve gone with a more experienced, tried and true XV mainly because of who we are up against. Everybody has had a good week and we can’t wait for the game to kick off.”

The game kicks off at 7.05pm NZT Friday 11 September at North Harbour Stadium.

North Harbour: Shaun Stevenson, Ngarohi McGarvey-Black, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, James Little, Walter Fifita, Bryn Gatland, Bryn Hall, Murphy Taramai, Dillon Hunt (c), Ethan Roots, Jacob Pierce, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Sione Mafileo, Luteru Tolai, Karl Tu’inukuafe. Reserves: Zane Turner, Teague McElroy, Jimmy Roots, Tim Sail, Tamarau McGahan, Lewis Gjaltema, Fine Inisi, Tomas Aoke.

– with Harbour Rugby

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