All Blacks Akira Ioane and George Moala join former legend Carlos Spencer in the Blues team to contest the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens tournament this Friday and Saturday.
The 22-strong squad, announced today by coach Tana Umaga, also includes teenage talent Caleb Clarke, who returns after playing for the All Blacks Sevens team in the World Cup tournaments in Sydney and Hamilton.
The Blues team will be led by 46-game Super Rugby loose forward-lock, Jimmy Tupou.
There’s plenty of exciting running talent with the likes of brilliant outside backs Melani Nanai and Jordan Trainor, outstanding North Harbour loose forward Murphy Taramai, who joins fellow former All Black Sevens representatives with Antonia Kirikiri and Jonathan Ruru.
The Blues will also unleash some young players for the future in New Zealand Under-20 players Jacob Pierce, Dalton Papalii, Tamati Tua and Orbyn Leger.
“It is a good occasion which the players really enjoyed last year,” said Umaga. “We are going there to enjoy this opportunity and produce some good rugby.
“At the same time it will play a key part in our preparations for the upcoming Super Rugby season and have some goals to achieve while the rest of the squad are preparing at home.
“We are bringing some players who are exciting runners given some space and opportunity. We are keen to play a physical and open running game that will be both effective and also attractive.”
Umaga said the young players, especially, will be able to learn much from having Spencer in the team environment.
“Carlos is an iconic player who is still capable of performing on the field. He is also developing into an excellent coach, so our players have a unique opportunity to learn from him.”
Players not considered for selection because of injury include Otere Black, Michael Collins, Blake Gibson, Matt Moulds, Stephen Perofeta, Kara Pryor, Matt Johnson, James Parsons, Jerome Kaino, Scott Scrafton, Leni Apisai, Josh Goodhue, Dan Kirkpatrick, Sione Mafileo, Isaac Salmon.
The Brisbane Global Rugby Tens is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and Brisbane City Council through Brisbane Marketing.
Blues squad for Brisbane Global Rugby Tens
Caleb Clarke, Kurt Ecklund, Jordan Hyland, Akira Ioane, Antonio Kirikiri, Orbyn Leger, George Moala, Melanai Nanai, Sam Nock, Jordan Olsen, Dalton Papalii, Jacob Pierce, Marcel Renata, Jonathan Ruru, Hoskins Sotutu, Carlos Spencer, Michael Tamoaeita, Murphy Taramai, Tanielu Telea, Jordan Trainor, Tamati Tua, Jimmy Tupou (Captain).
Coaches: Tana Umaga, Steve Jackson.
Brisbane Global Rugby Tens
Dates: Friday 9 and Saturday 10 February, 2018
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Gates Open: 1:45pm Friday / 12:45pm Saturday
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