Taylor’s chance to show case his skills

Dave Hewett
Dave Hewett
First five-eighth Mitch Taylor has been provided with an opportunity to showcase his skills when he starts for the Southland Stags in their first preseason game against a North Otago XV in Oamaru today.

While contracted to Rugby Southland on a development contract, Taylor (20) was not included in the 26-man Stags named last week for this year’s Mitre 10 Cup.

Rebels pivot Tayler Adams is shaping as the Stags’ first choice first five-eighth this year but will come off the bench.

Stags coach Dave Hewett said Adams had joined the group late and he wanted to ease Adams into the setup. It also provided Taylor his chance to impress.

Hewett has named co-captains for the preseason game, and they are players at different points in their career.

Flynn Thomas (20) and James Wilson (35) will share the role, although a captain has not yet been confirmed for the Mitre 10 Cup season.

Last year’s captain, Brayden Mitchell, will miss today’s game as he continues to battle a neck injury.

The North Otago squad contains eleven players who have had experience at this level.

Some players are being rested following the Citizens Shield semifinals and final but the likes of veteran midfielder Lemi Masoe, Kurow prop Petelo Houhila and utility forward Sam Sturgess will probably fit into the side for the final warm up game against Otago Country in two weeks.

Newcomers to first class rugby will be Kurow lock Braden Barnes,  Old Boys flanker Anthony Amato, midfielders Frank Kelly, Taina Tamou and Matthew Vocea, while young Excelsior utility back Hamish Slater will start at fullback.

- Logan Savory and Terry O'Neill


Southland v North Otago
Oamaru, 2pm

Southland: Tauasosi Tuimavave, Jackson Ormond, Aleki Morris, James Wilson (co-captain), Lewis Ormond, Mitch Taylor, Nico Costa, Tony Lamborn, Wade McRae, Jack Capil, Brenton Howden, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Morgan Mitchell, Flynn Thomas (co-captain), Joe Walsh. Reserves: Jaya More, Shaun Stodart, Chris Apoua, Ray Tatafu, Jay Renton, Greg Dyer, Matt Johnson, Rory van Vugt, Tayler Adams.

North Otago: Hamish Slater, Simon Lillicama, Antonio Misiloi, Taina Tamou, Frank Kelly, Dan Lewis, Inoke Naufahe, Mika Mafi, Matt Duff, Jinior Fakatoufifita, Anthony Amato, Filipo Veamatahau/Braden Barnes, Kelepi Funaki, Ralph Darling, Meli Kolinisau. Reserves: Jack Williams, Tom Furnival, Kafa Katoa, Isaac Shields, Braden Barnes/Filipo Veamatahau, Glen Sturgess, Kayne Middleton, Tyler Burgess, Sam Tatupu, Matt Vocea.

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