Canterbury’s NPC squad announced for 2022 season
New Zealand Under 20 representatives George Bell, Seb Calder and Joel Lam are the three newcomers to Canterbury’s Bunnings Warehouse NPC squad.
Lam (Burnside) will get the opportunity to learn from experienced halfback pair Willi Heinz and Mitchell Drummond, while Bell and Calder have the chance to serve their apprenticeships under Oli Jager and Brodie McAlister.
Superb club form has seen first five eight Alex Harford (HSOB) and loose forward Liam Allen (Lincoln University) both rewarded with full time contracts for the first time. So too for loose forwards Dominic Gardiner and Corey Kellow, who made the most of their Super Rugby seasons with the Crusaders.
Manasa Mataele is set to bring the same excitement he’s brought to Fiji during their recent Pacific Nations Cup campaign, linking up with Chay Fihaki and Bridge to form a potent back three.
Tom Christie returns to the NPC after a season out with a shoulder injury, joining Cullen Grace, who has also been in career-best form during Super Rugby, Billy Harmon, Reed Prinsep, Gardiner, Kellow and Allen in the loose forwards.
Youngster Zach Gallagher will partner with fellow former Christ’s College captain Sam Darry in the second row, with veteran Luke Romano and Mitchell Dunshea (currently injured) to provide leadership to the younger pair.
A Crusaders laden front row highlights the lower numbers with Fletcher Newell, Oli Jager, Tamaiti Williams, Finlay Brewis, Brodie McAlister and Shilo Klien linking up with Highlander’s loosehead Daniel Lienert-Brown.
NPC Squad for 2022:
Liam Allen - Lincoln University
George Bell - Lincoln University
Finlay Brewis - HSOB
George Bridge - HSOB
Fergus Burke - University of Canterbury
Seb Calder - Lincoln University
Tom Christie - Christchurch
Sam Darry - HSOB
Mitchell Drummond - HSOB
Mitchell Dunshea - Springston
Braydon Ennor - University of Canterbury
Chay Fihaki - Burnside
Zach Gallagher - Burnside
Dominic Gardiner - Marist Albion
Cullen Grace - Lincoln University
Alex Harford - HSOB
Billy Harmon - New Brighton
Willi Heinz - Linwood
Oliver Jager - New Brighton
Corey Kellow - Lincoln University
Shilo Klein - HSOB
Joel Lam - Burnside
Daniel Lienert-Brown - HSOB
Manasa Mataele - Marist Albion
Brodie McAlister - Sydenham
Dallas McLeod - Christchurch
Richie Mo'unga - Linwood
Joe Moody - Lincoln
Fletcher Newell - Lincoln University
Rameka Poihipi - Lincoln University
Reed Prinsep - HSOB
Isaiah Punivai - Burnside
Ngatungane Punivai - Prebbleton
Luke Romano - Hurunui
Codie Taylor - Sydenham
Samuel Whitelock - Lincoln University
Tamaiti Williams - Burnside