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Six All Blacks named in Waikato's squad for NPC season

By Sam Smith
Damian McKenzie. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

Waikato Rugby is pleased to announce their initial 38-man Bunnings Warehouse National Provincial Championship (NPC) squad for the upcoming 2022 season.


Ayden Johnstone returns as one of the co-captains from 2021 but this season he is joined in that leadership role by experienced openside flanker, Mitch Jacobson, who will add to his 62 Waikato caps this season.

The bulk of the 2021 squad has returned in 2022, with 35 of the 38 players returning for this season. There are three players who have a chance to make their Waikato debut this season.

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These players are Te Awamutu Sports inside back, Taha Kemara, Hamilton Old Boys prop, Solomone Tukuafu and Samoan powerhouse utility back, Alapati Leuia, who returns from Europe after 8 seasons with the Wasps (20 appearances) and Bristol Bears (31), he has also made 26 appearances for Samoa since 2013.

This seasons squad features six current or former All Blacks, 24 Super Rugby players and 2 current Samoan Internationals.

This season could see nine player reach playing milestones. Liam Messam currently has 99 Waikato caps and has a chance to become Waikato’s newest centurion. While Sefo Kautai (46), Bailyn Sullivan (45) and Jack Lam (42) all have a chance of reaching their 50 games milestone for the province.

There are 5 players who are in-line to receive their 18th game Blazer this season, these players are Xavier Roe (17), Mosese Dawai (15), George Dyer (12), D’Angelo Leuila (11) and Simon Parker (11).


Waikato head coach Ross Filipo said, “We are again pleased to name a squad that is made up predominately of players from the 2021 season. We are extremely proud that we were able to achieve a Premiership title in the extreme circumstances we were under, but this year is another season, so we are to resetting and do it all again.

We as a coaching group once again were looking for players with great character and are hard-working men that will strive to make this province proud once more and continue to build on our successes from last season.”

Waikato’s 2022 Bunnings Warehouse NPC campaign begins on Saturday (August 6) against Hawke’s Bay Magpies at FMG Stadium Waikato as game 3 of a triple header at the stadium.

2022 Waikato Bunnings Warehouse National Provincial Championship Squad


Hamilton Burr (29) Hautapu
Rob Cobb (21) Hamilton Old Boys
Tepaea Cook-Savage (7) Fraser Tech
Liam Coombes-Fabling (22) Fraser Tech
Sam Cooper (10) Hamilton Old Boys
Mosese Dawai (15) Hautapu
Rhys Dickinson (5) Fraser Tech
George Dyer (12) Fraser Tech
Samipeni Finau (22) Hamilton Old Boys
Luke Jacobson (22) Hautapu
Mitch Jacobson (62) Hautapu – Co-Captain
Ayden Johnstone (33) Hautapu – Co-Captain
Sefo Kautai (46) Hamilton Marist
Taha Kemara (*) Te Awamutu Sports
Jack Lam (42) Hamilton Marist
Alapati Leuia (*)
D’Angelo Leuila (11) Fraser Tech
Anton Lienert-Brown (21) University
Tom Martin (4)
Rhys Marshall (4)
Damian McKenzie (26) University
Laghlan McWhannell (22) Hautapu
Steven Misa (28) Hamilton Marist
Liam Messam (99) Hautapu
Ollie Norris (31) Hautapu
Simon Parker (11) Hautapu
Cortez Ratima (21) Otorohanga
Te Rama Reuben (1) University
Xavier Roe (17) Hamilton Old Boys
Daniel Sinkinson (1) Melville
Bailyn Sullivan (45) Hamilton Marist
Samisoni Taukei’aho (44) Fraser Tech
James Thompson (20) Hautapu
Ryan Tongia (5)
James Tucker (53) Hamilton Marist
Solomone Tukuafu (*) Hamilton Old Boys
Quinn Tupaea (32) Hamilton Old Boys
Gideon Wrampling (18) Te Awamutu Sports

() = caps for Waikato
* = uncapped for Waikato

-Press Release/Waikato RU


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