Wests Tigers have today announced the Club’s NRL Auckland Nines side for 2015 with Chris Lawrence set to lead the team at Eden Park.
This will be Lawrence’s first appearance at the NRL Auckland Nines and he will take the reins as captain in the absence of Robbie Farah.
Experienced winger Pat Richards, plus young guns Manaia Cherrington and Delouise Hoeter will make their second NRL Auckland Nines appearance for Wests Tigers, with new recruit Kevin Naiqama also returning to the tournament after playing for Penrith last year.
It will be Naiqama’s first appearance in Wests Tigers colours, along with former Dragons and London Broncos halfback Josh Drinkwater.
There will be plenty of young talent on show from the 2015 NRL squad with rookies Salesi Funaki, Lamar Liolevave, Kyle Lovett, Cherrington and Hoeter all named to take the field in what shapes up to be an exciting weekend of football.
Head Coach Jason Taylor said the tournament will provides another avenue for players to impress ahead of the NRL season.
“We have selected a fairly young side but it’s an exciting one,” Taylor said.
“It provides a number of these players with an opportunity to stake their claims on a spot for Round 1 in March and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they’ve got.
“It’s an exciting format of the game and I feel we have a team that has a good mix of youth, experience and speed which will suit the tournament.”
Wests Tigers will come up against the New Zealand Warriors, Canberra Raiders and Gold Coast Titans in the Hunua Ranges pool, starting on Saturday, January 31.
Wests Tigers 2015 Auckland Nines squad (in alphabetical order):
Sitaleki Akauola, Nathan Brown, Jack Buchanan, Manaia Cherrington, Josh Drinkwater, Asipeli Fine, Salesi Funaki, Delouise Hoeter, Chris Lawrence, Lamar Liolevave, Kyle Lovett, Joel Luani, Kevin Naiqama, Pat Richards, Brenden Santi, Ava Seumanufagai, Tim Simona, Sauaso Sue.