This week see’s the start of the Auckland Rugby Union Premier and Premier Development competitions with PIC Insurance Brokers Pakuranga United set to represent the area once again in 2019. We preview their chances in 2019.
The Access Solution’s Premier Squad has been hit hard by player movements in the off season with several notable players trying to progress into representative rugby at other unions whilst a few have moved to neighbouring clubs to try and crack the big time.
For some clubs this sort of player movement may have a negative effect but Pakuranga has changed greatly from a few years back when this would have decimated the club. “We always want our players to stay with us but it is a fact of life that at times their pathways forward get blocked by incumbent players in their positions both at club and Auckland level,” said Rugby Director Pita Alatini.
“We work hard to retain players but acknowledge movement is a large part of the game with all clubs recruiting hard in the off season.”
Pakuranga is however set to play an aggressive, attractive style of rugby in 2019. Notable players to watch out for in the green and orange this season include Tongan international Hawaii Ahokovi at centre, a rejuvenated Aula Silipa at 2nd five eight, tight head prop Jerry Samania and Auckland U19 rising stars prop Fatongia Paea and full back Lameki Namoa.
They will be joined by some seasoned veterans including hooker Michael McBeath, flankers Adam Darracott, David Adams and 2013 Gallaher Shield winning captain David Whitecliffe-Davies, added to this is sprinkling of new players and several who have progressed from the U20 and Premier Development programmes.
Premier head coach Nick Evans is confident his team is ready for the season,
“Whilst it is great to see players like 2018 NZ U20 player John Akau’ola-Laula (Tasman) and 2018 Auckland B captain Max East (Counties) progress up the grades, they do leave large holes in our Premiers for 2019,” said Evans.
“The players chosen this year are again extremely talented footballers who have worked hard in the pre-season to be ready for the challenge we know Ponsonby are going to bring Saturday.
“Being our Heritage Day we really want to put up a good showing for the old boys of the club.”
Pakuranga take on 2019 Waka Nathan champions and last year’s Gallaher Shield champions Ponsonby in the 1st round at home on Bell Park this weekend at 2.45pm. Prior to this the Marie Raos Ray White Premier Development team play their counterparts Ponsonby at 1pm on Bell Park.