Fijian stars boost Canterbury defence
NEWS: Coach Scott Roberston has named three Fijian newcomers in his Canterbury squad to defend the National Provincial Championship, when the competition kicks off next week.
The 2015 Fiji World Cup stars Ben Volavola (flyhalf) and Lee Roy Atalifo (prop) have been joined in the squad by fellow Fijian and former Wanganui Heartland Championship star Poasa Waqanibau (centre).
Along with the three Fijian stars, New Zealand Under-20 playmaker Jordie Barrett (brother of All Black Beauden) is set to make his NPC debut after being selected in a backline that includes Super Rugby players Rob Thompson, Mitchell Drummond, Ryan Crotty, Johnny McNicholl and Richie Mo'unga.
In the pack, there is plenty of experience and star power to offset the potential unavailability of current All Blacks squad members Owen Franks, Wyatt Crockett, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody, Kieran Read, Luke Romano and Sam Whitelock.
Impressive lock Scott Barrett, another member of the famous Barrett family of superstars, the towering Dominic Bird, powerful Daniel Lienert-Brown and in-form Luke Whitelock will have the opportunity to lead Canterbury up front in the absence of any All Blacks stars.
Canterbury squad: Lee Roy Atalifo, Jordie Barrett, Scott Barrett, Dominic Bird, George Bridge, Jed Brown, Wyatt Crockett, Ryan Crotty, Hamish Dalzell, Mitch Drummond, Nathan Earle, Ere Enari, Inga Finau, Owen Franks, Ben Funnell, Jack Goodhue, Billy Harmon, Alex Hodgman, Oliver Jager, Milford Keresoma, Daniel Lienert-Brown, David McDuling, Johnny McNicholl, Richie Mo'unga, Joe Moody, Reed Prinsep, Kieran Read, Luke Romano, Tom Sanders, Jack Stratton, Marshall Suckling, Codie Taylor, Rob Thompson, Matt Todd, Siate Tokolahi, Nathan Vella, Ben Volavola, Poasa Waqanibau, Luke Whitelock, Sam Whitelock.