Mix of old, new named in Otago wider training group

A panoramic view of Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night. Photos: Peter McIntosh
A panoramic view of Forsyth Barr Stadium. Photo: Peter McIntosh
A mix of old and new highlights an Otago wider training group named yesterday for the Mitre 10 Cup.

The wider training group consists of 34 players although many of them are still young and learning the game at a higher level.

The squad does not include any Super Rugby players, who will come back into calculations for the Otago side.

Former All Black and Southland prop Jamie Mackintosh is named in the squad. Mackintosh is living in Dunedin and has linked with the Kaikorai club.

Winger Freedom Vahaakolo is also included. He has scored a bucketful of tries in Auckland club rugby over the past few years and has come south to have a crack at making the next level. He has joined Dunedin.

Green Island’s Willie Kirkwood is in the squad after impressing for North Otago last year, as did Charles Elton.

Young backs Michael Manson, Giovanni Leiuala and Michael Graham are all included.

Along with the wider training group, a further group made up of members of a prospective Otago development team and Otago under-19 team have started training together. The group, made up of about 50 players, trains two nights a week.

Otago used more than 50 players in the Mitre 10 Cup last season and depth will be required this season.

Otago kicks off its Mitre 10 Cup campaign against Auckland, at Forsyth Barr Stadium, on September 12.

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