After a rough year in 2017, Waikato will be desparate to turn things around this year. They were relegated from the Premiership, but now have former All Black Jono Gibbs at the helm. Manawatu won...
The former Manawatu Under 19s representative headed off to Wanganui in 2016 and had a bumper year making the New Zealand Heartland XV and being named Heartland Player of the Year. In 2017 he returned to Manawatu and proved he is up to the task of Mitre 10 Cup rugby.
The damaging ball-carrier returns home for the 2018 season. After coming through the grades in Manawatu, Thompson set off for Canterbury 2013. His consistent performances for the red and blacks saw him signed to the Crusaders in 2014. In 2016 he signed with the Highlanders where he has established himself as a mainstay of the southerners' backline. Thompson is brother of former Turbos first five-eighth Isaac Thompson.
The young Otere Black came storming out of High School rugby with Tu Toa in 2013 to claim the Senior 1 highest point scorer for College Old Boys with a staggering 223 points from just 16 games. A composed and intelligent player, Otere won a Super Rugby contract with the Hurricanes in 2015, before moving to the Blues in 2018.