Youthful core locked in

on Friday, 11 October 2019. Posted in Turbos News

Youthful core locked in

The Manawatu Rugby Union have locked up their future in the form of six of the region’s best young talents.

Josiah Maraku, Stewart Cruden, Drew Wild, Tyler Laubuscher, Tekamaka Kamaka (TK) Howden and Joseph Gavigan have all been signed by Manawatu Rugby.

Maraku, Cruden, Wild, Laubuscher and Howden will be on full Turbos contracts in 2020, while Gavigan will be with the academy in 2020, moving to the Turbos in 2021.

Manawatu Rugby Union chief executive Shannon Paku said it was important for Manawatu to retain the top young local talent.

“We are committed to investing in local talent and this group highlight the quality the region is producing,” he said.

“Having such a strong young locally-developed group bodes well for the future of the Turbos and reaffirms that we are heading in the right direction.”

The group of six will be complimented by the Manawatu Academy selections which will be confirmed later in the year.

The academy will be led by Eneliko Fa’atau, who has joined the union replacing Doug Tietjens, now Director of Operations at Sunnybank Rugby in Australia.

Maraku, in his first year out of Feilding High School, made his Turbos debut against Taranaki in round two of the Mitre 10 Cup this year.

The 19-year-old former New Zealand Secondary Schools centre has made two starts this season, both on the wing.

But it is at centre where Maraku looks most at home. He impressed during the club season with his vision, running lines and passing.

Cruden, 18, made his Turbos debut against Tasman in week three.

The younger brother of former All Black Aaron put in some commanding performances for College Old Boys in the club season.

He has a strong tactical read on the game with an ability to put his teammates into space.

Wild’s debut for the Turbos came against Taranaki and he has since made two starts for the side against Tasman and Otago.

The 19-year-old, also in his first year out of Feilding High School, is another to impress with his instinctive attacking ability.

Wild, who can cover fullback, wing and first five-eighth, lit up the club competition with a handful of dazzling runs which had many drawing parallels to All Black Damian McKenzie.

Although small in stature, Wild can rely on his booming boot to get himself out of trouble.

Laubuscher was the star of Manawatu’s Under 19s campaign.

The 18-year-old was one of the most exciting talents to come through Palmerston North Boys’ High School in recent years, but injuries meant his game time in his final two seasons with the first XV was limited.

He sat out the Manawatu club season as he looked to get his knee injury right.

Laubuscher was carefully returned to rugby during the Under 19s preseason, but quickly returned to peck form showing no effects of his knee surgery.

A quality lineout jumper and an athletic, power-house ball carrier, Laubuscher travelled with the Turbos team for their match against Bay of Plenty last week.

Howden, 18, captained the Feilding High School 1st XV and was selected for the New Zealand Secondary Schools Barbarians squad this season as a lock.

His strong aerial skills saw him dominate the lineouts in schoolboy rugby while he has the mobility to play in the loose forwards.

Prop Gavigan co-captained Manukura this season and was also selected in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Barbarians squad.

The 17-year-old is very technically accurate at set piece and a strong ball carrier around the fringes of the ruck.