Dunedin Premier Rugby team preview: Zingari-Richmond

Zingari-Richmond lock Chris Bell. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Zingari-Richmond lock Chris Bell. PHOTO: ODT FILES
As a new Dunedin season gets under way, Adrian Seconi runs his eye over the teams. Today: Zingari-Richmond.


Last year: Eighth.

Coach: William Hola (first year), assistant Johnny Smith (first)

Squad. —

Forwards: Israel Otunuku (captain), Hame Lauaki, Philip Taua Ah Soon, Viki Tofa, Jahlisha Lofipo, A-One Lolofie, Ene Junior Lam-Cheung, Lawrence Leung Wai, Chris Bell, Ciaran Jansen, Trevor Elisara, Simon Pupualii, Flavius Roberts-Livi, Dylan Petaia, Fitu Faailoa, Billy Boyne, Tofatu Solia, Mika Mafi.

Backs: Fionn McKenna, Shaun Driver, Tyree Manaia, Anzac Tipene, Keenan Masina, Tama Apineru, Oscar Tilialo, Ropati Sooalo, Sefo Muasika, Josiah Sakaria, Ryan Kreft, Sosaia Fonua, Siua Fonua.

They are making moves at Zingari-Richmond.

They know their history. Wins have been few and far between.

But coach William Hola has recruited well and they are hopeful up at Montecillo Park.

Powerful prop Hame Lauaki has been lured south from Hawke’s Bay, and former Whanganui representative Vika Tofa will bolster the front row as well.

Openside flanker Flavius Roberts-Livi has moved down from Wellington and will join the likes of Lawrence Leung Wai and A-One Lolofie in a very decent pack.

Exciting winger Josiah Sakaria has come down from Hawke’s Bay. He has pace and is an elusive runner.

The other notable signing is that of veteran Southern No 8 Mika Mafi, who brings leadership to the team.

Ageless loose forward Chris Bell is back for another stint. They say he started playing premier rugby for the Colours when Betty White was in her teens.

Incredibly, Bell is closing in on 300 premier games. You will not get a more loyal club man.

Zingari got some traction up front last season but they struggled further out. It will be down to the likes of first five Tyree Manaia and centre Tama Apineru to change that.

* Team lists provided by the Otago Rugby Football Union.