Tumoana Halkyard returns as a Warriors Development player to take on Benson Selwyn’s 19 man squad Adam Blair XIII at Hikurangi this weekend. Halkyard, who twelve months ago played in the NorthTec Adam Blair XIII, is trying to cement a place as a Warrior. He will start at Fullback, his preferred position. Included in the NorthTec Adam Blair XIII squad are only seven players who have represented the Northern Swords at either 15s or 17s within the last twelve months. Added to that, there are only two players who from last year’s NorthTec Adam Blair XIII who played the Warriors, so it is fair to say that the squad is fairly inexperienced and raw.
“This is a great Challenge and exactly why we set up this project up, we wanted to spread the net wider than just our normal league players. We’ve got some really good athletes in this squad and I’m sure with Benson’s coaching and the help of Tony Iro on Sunday, that the boys will put a good performance in next weekend.” Alex Smits General Manager of RLN said. “Last year our Swords 17s had a really good season and this was due to preparation of the NorthTec Adam Blair XIII.”
The 19 man squad, were taken through their paces on Sunday, by NZRL High Performance Manager and ex-Warriors Assistant Coach, Tony Iro, who helped educate the players on ruck defence and how to control the tackle. “There are some good athletes here and I was really pleased by their enthusiasm and their hunger to improve, it will be a tough ask for them against season league players from the Warriors. But if they can get into an arm wrestle with them, they could surprise a few people.”
Coach, Benson Selwyn, was excited about this week’s game. “Sure they are bit inexperienced – sure we have had only the one training run to prepare, but mate, we’ve got some good boys here. Look at guys like Steel Kake and Demrys Croft who will lead them from the front. Haane Rudolph has got the experience at hooker to lead them around and Caleb Aekins is a smart footballer. These guys did a great job for the Swords last year and I’m sure that they will give the others some direction.”
Click here to read our earlier story for Tumoana.