Ōhaupō back Queyst Michael-Tapu is one of the 2022 Waikato Divisional team squad members. Photo / Arthur Uden
The 2022 Waikato Rugby Divisional team has been selected for a four-match campaign commencing on August 27.
The side is supported, funded and lead by the Waikato Rugby division one clubs and is a chance for loyal division one players to get a taste of representative rugby against other provincial teams.
Waikato’s division one club sides are Frankton, Hinuera, Leamington, Ōhaupō, Pirongia, Putāruru, Southern United, Suburbs, Taupiri and Te Rapa.
The inaugural Waikato Divisional team was selected in 2021 with the help of former Waikato, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Ireland halfback Isaac Boss (Southern United player/president) and ex-Whanganui rep Jordan Farrington (Ōhaupō coach).
“For the players it’s an opportunity for them to represent their clubs as well as putting on a Waikato jersey and getting a feel and sense of representative rugby – that’s a pretty special feeling,” Farrington says.
“It’s also an opportunity for them to add to the team for future years. Because the team is only in its second year, there’s time for them to add their flavor and build it for the future.”
The 2021 games had the Waikato Divisional side play against Thames Valley Development and North Harbor Development, with their other games canceled due to Covid.
“Last year was a success around seeing the players come together from different clubs and enjoy each other’s company. It was a success also in the fact that they got to play against some contracted professional players in the North Harbor Development team,” says Farrington.
“As coaches and managers on the sideline, you could see the players grow and go to another level – that’s the real bonus and benefit of it.
“It’s definitely about winning, taking scalps and trophies, but philosophically the team is more about building connections between club players and offering them that sense of putting on a rep jersey.”
The 2022 team will take on Counties Manukau Māori at Karaka (August 27), King Country Development at Tokoroa (September 3), Thames Valley Emerging Talent at Hinuera (September 10) and North Harbor Development at Willoughby Park in Hamilton (September 17). All matches kick off at 1pm.
2022 WAIKATO DIVISIONAL SQUAD:
James McLuskie, James Palmer (Frankton), Angus Kelly, Lachie McLaren, Pete Smit (Hinuera), James Fraser, Jonah Haycock, Liam Rickwood (Leamington), Alfie Broughton, Chris Ferguson, Taylor Hayes, Queyst Michael-Tapu, Dylan Samson, Scott Thomas, Bronson Wilson-Beech (Ōhaupō), Stan Rhind (Pirongia), Damon Putt (Putāruru), Matt Crum, Maauga lamanu, Hamiora Mihaka, Mason Nestor, James Sutherland, Jemaine Waea-Allan (Southern United – SURF), Kees Anderson, Brad Burkhart, Andrew Carney, Ollie Main, Keelan McMullen (Suburbs), Oliver Houghton, Joshua Kautai (Taupiri), James Wilson (Te Rapa).
Co-coaches: Jacob Kelly (Frankton), Chris Tane (Suburbs).
Campaign Managers: Isaac Boss (SURF), Jordan Farrington (Ōhaupō).