Mitre Cup

Liam Messam set for first appearance for Waikato since 2015 as Mooloos roll out young halves combo

Waikato head coach, Andrew Strawbridge, has made several changes to his matchday 23.

There are two changes to the tight five, Rob Cobb and James Thompson have been elevated from the bench to start at loosehead prop and lock, respectively. Cobb and Thompson inclusion to the starting XV has, Ollie Norris and Hamilton Burr, moving to the reserve for this match.

Waikato captain, Luke Jacobson, switches back to number 8 making room for brother Mitch to start in his preferred position of openside flanker.

Canterbury bring Richie Mo'unga in for Ranfurly Shield head-to-head with Beauden Barrett

Mounga and Drummond both came on in the second half in Canterbury’s 43-29 win over North Harbour in Albany, while Saturday’s game will be Christie and Jager’s first in Canterbury colours for 2020.

Isaiah Punivai, has also been rewarded with a start in the number 13 jersey following his Man of the Match performance in Albany, replacing Dallas McLeod who is unavailable due to a toe injury.

We were really impressed with Isaiah on Friday, he came on and performed extremely well, so deservedly gets another opportunity,” Thorne added.

Canterbury name strong Mitre 10 Cup squad featuring 25 Super Rugby stars and nine All Blacks

A total of 25 players have Super Rugby experience, 22 of whom were involved in the Crusaders’ successful Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign to some degree this year.

On top of that, co-coaches Reuben Thorne and Mark Brown have named nine All Blacks, who should be available for at least some action this season with the international calendar still up in the air, while All Blacks Sevens star Andrew Knewstubb has also been included.

Waikato confirm the signings of two former Super Rugby superstars

Osborne, a Fijian international winger since 2016, made himself available for his country of birth after he was twice named in an All Blacks training squad in 2014 and 2015 but never selected. Osborne brings plenty of experience to the side, having recorded 42 appearances for Canterbury at a provincial level, on top of the 60 Super Rugby caps for the Chiefs (9) and the Highlanders (51). Osborne managed 33 tries over his first-class appearances, indicating his scoring prowess.

It's official: The Bus has joined the Wellington Lions for the Mitre 10 Cup

The 30-year-old has been playing for French club Toulon since 2018 but made the move home with his family in May.

Since his return, Savea has played one game of club rugby for Oriental-Rongotai and was contracted as injury cover for the Hurricanes during the last two weeks of Super Rugby. He has now said he is elated about getting back into the Lions jersey full-time.

Julian Savea has eyes firmly set on midfield role in the Mitre 10 Cup

Now, the 30-year-old hopes to earn a fulltime contract with his former side for next year but first, he’ll have to prove himself in the Mitre 10 Cup.

Savea last featured for the Wellington Lions in 2017 when he took over as interim captain as the side fought their way back into the Premiership division.

A lot as changed for Savea in the last three years – including his position of choice.

Former All Blacks star Julian Savea reveals plans for future in New Zealand rugby

Savea has joined his Hurricanes teammates in camp, following his return to the franchise. The last time the man nicknamed ‘The Bus’ played for them was in the 2018 semi-final against the Crusaders.

He spent the last two European rugby seasons with Toulon in the French Top 14, before departing in March.

Savea says he initially reached out to the Canes when returning to New Zealand, who hold a special place in his heart having spent his entire provincial career in Wellington.

“I would love to [stay], but it’s out of my hands at the moment,” he said.