Mitre 10 Cup Preview: Taranaki (2020)

GettyImages 1179300110

Coach: Willie Rickards

Home ground: TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

2019: Fifth in Championship

 

Talking points

With Yarrow Stadium out of action due to redevelopment this season, the Bulls will play their home games at TET Stadium and Events Centre in Inglewood. The new venue is sure to create a great atmosphere with fans situated close to the action when crowds are allowed back at Covid-19 Alert Level 1. There’s no argument that last season was an underperforming year for the Bulls and they will be desperate to bounce back strong in 2020. The addition of Chiefs assistant coach Neil Barnes and former player Jarad Hoeata to Wille Rickards’ coaching group will strengthen the Bulls off field while they have also added experience in the playing group with veteran prop Ben May, sevens star Lewis Ormond and former Maori All Blacks utility back Codey Rei among the new recruits in 2020.

 

Player to watch

One of the highlights of Super Rugby Aotearoa was the dominating display of loose forwards across all teams. One player who stood tall but didn’t capture the headlines or attention of national selectors like other players was blockbusting No.8 Pita Gus Sowakula. Despite playing in a Chiefs side that lost all eight of their games, Sowakula was a consistent performer for Warren Gatland’s side and averaged an incredible 76 minutes per-match to underline his importance to the side. The former basketball star will be looking to build on that form in the Mitre 10 Cup and lead Taranaki back into the Premiership.

 

Incoming players

Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens (All Blacks Sevens), Josh Walden (Hong Kong), Codey Rei (Japan), Ben May (Hawke’s Bay), Lewis Ormond (Southland)

 

Taranaki squad

Beauden Barrett, Ben May, Bradley Slater, Brayton Northcott-Hill, Chris Gawler, Codey Rei, Crusader Faletagoa’i, Daniel Waite, Donald Brighouse, Findlamor Hoeata, Jack Jordan, Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens, Jared Proffit, Jayson Potroz, Jordie Barrett, Josh Lord, Kaylum Boshier, Kylem O’Donnell, Lachlan Boshier, Lewis Ormond, Lisati Milo-Harris, Lukas Halls, Millenium Sanerivi, Mitchell Brown, Mitchell Crosswell, Pita Gus Sowakula, Reuben O’Neill, Ricky Riccitelli, Scott Barrett, Sean Wainui, Stephen Perofeta, Teihorangi Walden, Tom Florence, Tupou Vaa’i, Warwick Lahmert

Taranaki draw

 

Taranaki v Bay of Plenty

Sunday 13 September

2.05pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

 

Canterbury v Taranaki (RS)

Saturday 19 September

4.35pm, Orangetheory Stadium

 

Taranaki v Otago

Sunday 27 September

2.05pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

 

Northland v Taranaki

Saturday 3 October

4.35pm, Semenoff Stadium, Whangarei

 

Taranaki v Auckland

Saturday 10 October

2.05pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

 

Southland v Taranaki

Saturday 17 October

7.05pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

 

Waikato v Taranaki

Sunday 25 September

4.35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato

 

Taranaki v Counties Manukau

Sunday 1 November
4.35pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood

 

Manawatu v Taranaki

Sunday 8 November

4.35pm, Manfield Park

 

Taranaki v Hawke’s Bay

Sunday 15 November

2.05pm, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood