Experienced Auckland first division players Jethro Friend and Jordan Tuarae will join an exclusive club this Saturday, when they captain Auckland into battle against the Tonga New Zealand Residents at Mount Smart Stadium.
Friend will start at dummy-half and Tuarae at standoff, leading an Auckland team which includes reigning SAS Fox Memorial Premiership Player of the Year, Taylor Daniels, and 2018 New Zealand Defence Force Sports Person of the Year, Cole Waaka.
Last season Tuarae played a key role in guiding the Glenora Bears to their first Fox Memorial title in 18 years, while in recent times Friend has established himself as the premier No.9 in the Auckland competition, where he captains the Howick Hornets.
The late withdrawal of Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck (New Zealand Warriors reserve grade) has opened the door for Glenora flyer Simon Luafalealo to get a start on the wing, while Mangere East skipper Howard Brown joins the squad as 18th man.
Auckland v Tonga NZ Residents kicks off at 2.30pm, with Auckland Maori U20 v Toa Samoa Invitational U20 opening the day at 12.30pm.
1: Polima Siaki (Glenora)
2: Corey Seator (Mt Albert)
3: Cole Waaka (Northcote)
4: Lafu Feagaiga (Mangere East)
5: Simon Luafalealo (Glenora)
6: Jordan Tuarae (Glenora) – co-captain
7: Reece Joyce (Mt Albert)
8: Jamel Hunt (Papakura)
9: Jethro Friend (Howick) – co-captain
10: Michael Ki (Pt Chevalier)
11: Taylor Daniels (Northcote)
12: Daniel Reuelu-Buchanan (Glenora)
13: Reece Charlie (Howick)
14: Abraham Papali’i (Pt Chevalier)
15: Chris Sio (Pt Chevalier)
16: Matti Tuitama (Pt Chevalier)
17: Moses Oge (Bay Roskill)
18: Howard Brown (Mangere East)
Coach: Grant Pocklington