Two debutants on bench for Turbos
The Manawatu Turbos have rotated their squad for their match against Wellington on Sunday in Palmerston North with two potential debutants on the bench.
Wing Ben Werthmuller and hooker Gene Syminton will both have a chance for their first games if coach Jeremy Cotter turns to his bench in the contest for the Coronation Cup.
The duo are among a host of changes for the Turbos including lock Nick Crosswell being handed the captaincy duties with Antonio Kiri Kiri being rested.
Faalelei Sione will get his first start at prop and is joined in the front row by Sam Stewart and Sean Paranihi.
Blindside flanker Liam Mitchell is back after a match off and is joined on the side of the scrum by Adrian Wyrill, with Brad Tucker remaining at No 8.
Kayne Hammington comes in at halfback with Otere Black named to start for the first time since he was injured last year.
Hamish Northcott, paying his 50th match for Manawatu, is joined in the midfield by Lifieimi Mafi with Rob Thompson and James Tofa on the wing.
Te Rangatira Waitokia takes the place of fullback Junior Laloifi who is out with a concussion.
The bench includes promising win Werthmuller.
The 21-year-old was on the building site on Thursday and only linked with the team on Friday.
The powerful Old Boys-Marist wing, who is an old boy of Palmerston North Boys High School, been a standout for the Manawatu Development XV in recent weeks.
A member of the Manawatu Rugby Academy, he has been under the watchful eye of the Turbos coaches for the past couple of seasons.
But he missed much of the club season this year.
“I snapped the tendon on my little finger back into my hand, so I hand to go and get that reattached and then it has been 12 weeks recovering. I came back three weeks ago.”
He was looking forward to getting on the field for his debut and testing the impressive Wellington back three.
“I am pretty excited, hopefully I get a bit of game time.”
Syminton is also hoping to be given a crack.
The College Old Boys hooker was a late addition to the bench for the Turbos match against Tasman on Wednesday but did not get on the field.
He said he got the call up just two hours before the game when clubmate Tim Cadwallader was ruled out.
Syminton said Cadwallader is one of his mentors having been a couple of years ahead of him at Lindisfarne College.
“He was captain of our school’s first XV when I was about 14 years old. I never played with him at school, but he was the big dog. He got me to College Old Boys. To be honest, him and the likes of Greg Fleming have been my biggest mentors here. I owe them a lot.”
Most of his club rugby has been at prop, but hooker was where he saw his future.
“I played hooker at school, but with Caddy [Cadwallader] at COB I changed to prop. I love hooker. It is a bit more open and I get to use a bit more of my speed. I reckon you have more energy at hooker because when you are at prop there is a lot more energy put into every scrum.”
He has racking up a lot of reps on his lineout throwing in recent weeks and confirmed he would move to hooker at club rugby next year.
Manawatu Turbos: 15 Te Rangatira Waitokia, 14 Rob Thompson 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Hamish Northcott, 11 James Tofa, 10 Otere Black, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Brad Tucker, 7 Adrian Wyrill, 6 Liam Mitchell, 5 Liam Hallam-Eames, 4 Nick Crosswell (c), 3 Sean Paranihi, 2 Sam Stewart, 1 Faalelei Sione. Reserves: 16 Gene Syminton, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Samuel Slade, 20 Brice Henderson, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Sam Malcolm, 23 Ben Werthmuller.