Ten female players are among the group of promising under-18 rugby talent from the Blues region to take part in the annual NZ Barbarians-Blues Development Camp next week.
The easing in the Covid conditions means the three-day camp will go ahead at Mount Albert Grammar School from Monday 28 September.
The camp will include sessions from Blues coaches and staff, who will also assist with coaching of the young players selected from Kaitaia to south Auckland and from 24 schools across the region.
“Overall it has been a difficult year for players in this age group who have only been able to play five games this season because of the coronavirus,” said Blues Talent & Identification Manager, Shane King.
“We are delighted that this camp can go ahead as it is an important part of their development and a chance for them to extend what has been a challenging season in rugby terms.
“We’ve looked at the long-term potential of this group and ensured we have reached out across the Blues region.
“It’s the first time we’ve included female players which is recognition of the growth in the women’s game and the impressive talent we have seen in our region.
“Our focus is on education and development, with the aim that these players will leave the camp with a clearer picture of the pathway for them and how they can best achieve their goals.”
At the conclusion of the camp the group will travel to Hamilton for two games against the Chiefs Under-18 camp attendees.
Two teams from the five New Zealand Super teams will then assemble under Blues forwards coach Tom Coventry and former All Black Mark Hammett for a one-off fixture in Hamilton on October 10.
The Blues camp attenders are:
Females: Tamara Ati (Macauley College); Sylvia Brunt (Mt Albert Grammar); Luisa Togotogorua, Dayna Moon, Abby Lockhart (Howick); Manaia Webb (Kerikeri); Maddison Mataafa, Christie Moncrieff (Westlake); Riko Takayoshi (Rangitoto); Madison Johnson (Dargaville).
Males: Manase Mohuanga (Aoerere); Faka’ongo Lea’aemanu, Finau Halafihi, Konrad Lotu-iga, Sam Hainsworth-Fa’aofo, Gage Jackson, Cullen Gray, Fehi Fineanganofo (Auckland Grammar); Josh Ioane, Brandon Tupu-Tuia (Botany); Lucas Payne (Dargaville); Wallace Sititi (DeLaSalle); Edward Whyte (Dilworth); Cameron Hansford, Rome Levi (Kaitaia High School); Tony Tafa, Aukusitino Salanoa, Kaleb Emile-Vaoga, Sam Howling (Kelston Boys); Sam Harper (Kerikeri High School); Israel Otunuku, Robbie Coman, Che Clarke, Dayton Iobu, Francis Manuleleua, Ali Leiataua, Luron Iosefa, Chicago Doyle (Kings College); Oscar Cowley-Andrea (Maclans); Zinzan Hansen (Massey High School); Quinton Nichols, Tama Anderson (Mt Albert Grammar); Rory Taylor, Keano Kini (Rosmini); Charlie Hankins, Jadin Kingi, Kobe Kay (Sacred Heart); Ben Ake, Allan Craig, Alefosio Aho, Will Bason, Liam Brady (St Kentigern); Ben Fuhiniu, Tito Tuipulotu, Ajay Faleafaga, Jeremiah Asi (St Peters); Righard Snyman, Brook Robson, Taufui Lolohea, Caleb Tangitau (Westlake); Josh Beehre (Whangarei).