Athletic Marist Liquorland
Coaches: Wayne Kinzett/Mark Watson.
Athletic Marist should field a powerful forward pack this season with prop Palenapa Mafi, lock Jason Greaney, Maka Lea returning to the fold, while big number eight Tevita Fifita is preparing for another season after an Achilles tendon injury. Add to that veteran lock Aisake Fonua, flanker Willie Tahitua, Jo Fifita, Ian Cooney an under rated player, and Dylan Winter who, under a Meridian scholarship, played the last six months captaining the Olney club in England. A couple of new Tongan midfielders have joined the club which welcomes back first five eighth, Ed Keohane who last played in 2010 but who has been playing for the London Irish Academy team in England. Winger Adam Halkett has returned from Australia while Kasanova Soane in midfield will be the key to the backline.
Coach: Jason Forrest
There have been more losses than gains for Excelsior. Tyron Davies and Kaituu Kaufana are both in Dunedin, while veteran half, Ray Gutsell, has retired and key midfielder Billy Guyton is trying his luck with Tasman. Dan Sinnamon has departed to Australia, Finlay Robson has headed to Dunedin, prop Jamie Rhodes is out with a thumb injury, while 2012 number eight, Fikita Teu is taking a season off. Experienced Joe Mamea has returned to Spain while prop Karl Cunningham is not playing.
Lock Jason Millns is out for three to four weeks after an elbow injury against Harlequins, while the Shields brothers Thomas (prop) and Isaac (lock) are there. But there are some new faces. Shale Baldwin is a possibility at six or seven, Ryan Duff and Pita Sinamoni are additions to the forward pack. Two Welsh players will join the club for the season with speedster Ryan Lee in the back three and Daniel Jones, a ten or a twelve.
Player/Coach: Ross Hay
Maheno started off the season with a preseason 20-17 win over Green Island last weekend. The side has been bolstered by the arrival of three overseas players, Emerson Sergile and Justin Turner from Florida. Both are midfield/fullback players and first five eighth Daniel Jones from Wales. Other contesting places in the backline are Leo Mills a first five eighth, Michael Hore, Ricky Chellew, Nathan Lock, Kyle Beck and Rodney Bungard with James Symes at halfback.
The forward pack will be led by Ross Hay, backed up by Brenton Scott, Andrew Fisher, Hayden Tisdall, Simon Thorpe and Isaac Webster, while the front row will be Johnny Rusbatch, Kevin Burns and Paddy Brand.
Coaches: Kilifi Fangupo and Tai Halelele
After being an almost permanent fixture in North Otago rugby, prop Atalea Katoa has retired. Atalea played 58 games for North Otago in the first five years of the new decade and played for the Kurow, Maheno and Old Boys clubs as an experienced prop. Midfield back Adam Barnard has remained in England, winger Steven Kiki has moved to Lawrence, winger Ofa Fatafehi has retired, halfback Tala Fagaosia has returned to Samoa, Finn Bloxsom is in China and Sam Spivey has shifted to Christchurch. Newcomers are Ashley Miller (loose forward) from St Kevinís College, James Pillay, from Waitaki Boys High School and three-quarter Joel McErlane, formerly from Kurow, who will join up with Lemi Masoe, Sale Piíi, Hamish McCulloch and Jeremiah Shields, who will be available after the cricket season.
Coaches: Richard Pledger and Regan Laughton
Kurow returned from a two match tour of Northern New South Wales earlier in the week after playing two games. The first was a double header. Kurow played 40 minutes against Gunnedah and drew 7-7. Gunnedah then played 40 minutes against Dubbo and Kurow then played Dubbo winning, 14-0. In the other game Kurow lost to Moree,15-20. Kurow this season will be without goal kicking first five eighth, Willy Tree, but his place has been taken by former Geraldine player, Willie Hand. Other losses are Fred Manthe who has returned to South Africa and English prop, Elliott Booley. Kurow will have added sharpness in the backline with two for the 2012 Waitaki Boys First XV, midfielder, Levi Fogarty and speedy winger Dean Fenwick, along with Tim Anderson. An injury to North Otago hooker Mike Paterson will see him away from rugby for possibly a month. Wally Milne, Marshall Smith and John Mathias will be in the pack which could do with an injection of some propping material. The side will probably be captained by Carl Taiarua, an opensaide flanker.
Valley Plunket Electrical
Coaches: Nathan Cunningham and Barry Fox
Prop Daniel Groundwater, Matthew Mather, first five eighth Walker Jacobs, flanker "BJ" Oliver and winger Leo Tupou are all missing from last season. Newcomers in the forwards are prop Hamish Wade who played with Eric Duff at Lincoln College, Blair Liddington a prop from Palmerston North and front rower Cameron Schultz who missed last season after a shoulder operation. Newcomers are second five eighth, Cameron Mitchell, utility Brad McKenzie, Mark Gold, Tom Squire and Phil Wilson. The forwards look a strong unit with Brad Morton, Scott Rowland, Rob Mafileo, Schultz, Bruce Newlands, Eric Duff, Blair Malcolm, Sean Conlan , Cameron Rowland and possibly Josh Collier, who will be joined by new open-side flanker Phil Hayman.
Rowan McKenzie, Jason Mavor, Mark Roney, Hamish McKenzie, Nick Webster and Daniel Keno will be the basis of the backline with Craig Kingan moving on to refereeing.