Whitelock captains Highlanders at Tens
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Highlanders head coach Tony Brown has selected Luke Whitelock to captain the 23-man squad vying for the inaugural Brisbane Global Tens trophy.
The coach Brown said the squad to play in the two-day tournament on February 11 are aware of the fast-paced nature of the game.
"We had a practice game last week and obviously with five less guys on the paddock, there is a lot of running around. It’s a great opportunity to get some running rugby under our belts and I know the players and coaching staff are pretty excited about the occasion," he said.
The Highlanders are drawn to play the Brumbies and Hurricanes on day one and the Bulls on day two. "While we haven’t experienced a lot of tens tactically, we do know that all the teams we play are going to bring a lot of intensity, speed and skill to the games," said Brown.
There is a lot of speed and guile in the Highlanders backs with the likes of Tevita Li, Matt Faddes and Jason Emery while the forwards possess strength and pace in the form of loose forwards Gareth Evans, James Lentjes and captain Whitelock. All Black hooker Liam Coltman has been released to play by NZ Rugby and is included in the squad.
Flying wing Tevita Li is excited about the prospect of playing "it’s a great way to build into Super Rugby for the guys with a bit of ball in hand and space to run. Suncorp is an awesome stadium and no doubt the atmosphere will be electric,"
Australia chief executive Rachael Carroll said: "It’s clear from the squad lists confirmed today that New Zealand teams competing at the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens are stacked full of elite talent. The squads are a combination of the finest rugby players of the current generation and some of the most exciting stars of the future.
"The Highlanders are clearly going to put on a hugely entertaining show at an event that is the most exciting, dynamic innovation to hit rugby in years,"
Forwards: Aki Seiuli, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Liam Coltman, Josh Dickson, Tom Franklin, Jackson Hemopo, James Lentjes, Craig Millar, Dillon Hunt, Gareth Evans, Adrian Smith, Luke Whitelock (captain)
Backs: Kayne Hammington, Josh Renton, Fletcher Smith, Teihorangi Walden, Rob Thompson, Jason Emery, Tevita Li, Matt Faddes, Sio Tomkinson, Marty Banks.