Mitre 10 Cup Preview: Canterbury 2020

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Coach: Ruben Thorne

Home ground: Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch

2019: Third in Premiership (losing semi-finalist)

 

Talking points

Since 1997 the longest Canterbury has gone without scooping national honours is three years. Given that their last title was in 2017, Canterbury fans will be disappointed with anything less than a podium finish for the perennial provincial powerhouse in 2020. It takes just one scan of their squad to immediately place Canterbury among the favourites this season. Coach Ruben Thorne has named a 37-man squad stacked with 25 players who boast Super Rugby experience. When adding in the Ranfurly Shield and the obvious lift it will provide the team when playing at home, Canterbury are primed to feature once again at the business end of the season.

 

Player to watch

Cullen Grace was one of the standout rookies in Super Rugby this year before having his season curtailed with a fractured thumb. The powerful 20-year-old impressed with his strong ball running and thunderous defence. At 1.93cm and 107kg, Grace is an imposing figure on the field and has quickly developed an ‘enforcer-type’ reputation despite his young age. With Crusaders teammates Whetukamokamo Douglas, Tom Sanders and Tom Christie also in Canterbury’s ranks, the red and blacks boast no shortage of firepower in the loose forwards.

 

Canterbury squad

Harrison Allan, Finlay Brewis, George Bridge, Brodie McAlister, Fergus Burke, Brett Cameron, Tom Christie, Sam Darry, Luke Donaldson, Whetukamokamo Douglas, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Dunshea, Ere Enari, Braydon Ennor, Chay Fihaki, Cullen Grace, Billy Harmon, Oli Jager, Shilo Klein, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Manasa Mataele, Josh McKay, Dallas McLeod, Scott Mellow, Joe Moody, Richie Mo’unga, Fletcher Newell, Andrew Knewstubb, Rameka Poihipi, Reed Prinsep, Isaiah Punivai, Ngane Punivai, Luke Romano, Tom Sanders, Codie Taylor, Samuel Whitelock, Tamaiti Williams.

 

Canterbury draw

 

North Harbour v Canterbury

Friday 11 September

7.05pm, North Harbour Stadium

 

Canterbury v Taranaki (RS)
Saturday 19 September

4.35pm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch

 

Hawke’s Bay v Canterbury

Saturday 26 September

7.05pm, McLean Park

 

Canterbury v Wellington (RS)

Saturday 3 October

7.05pm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch

 

Manawatu v Canterbury

Friday 9 October

7.05pm, CET Arena, Palmerston North

 

Canterbury v Waikato (RS)

Sunday 18 October

2.05pm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch

 

Bay of Plenty v Canterbury

Saturday 24 October

2.05pm, Tauranga Domain

 

Canterbury v Otago (RS)

Friday 30 October

7.05pm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch

 

Tasman v Canterbury

Saturday 7 November

7.05pm, Landsdowne Park, Blenheim

 

Canterbury v Auckland (RS)

Sunday 15 November

4.35pm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch