For the first time in nearly 30 years, two sets of brothers have been named together in the Yarrows Taranaki Bulls side to play Counties Manukau in their first Mitre 10 Cup match of the season on Saturday in Pukekohe.
Loose forwards Kaylum and Lachlan Boshier have both been named to start along with winger Waisake Naholo, with his brother, Kini, on the bench.
Brothers, Kieran and Alan Crowley along with Gordon and Andy Slater both lined up for Taranaki at the same time in the early 1990s. One set of brothers, Kane and Beauden Barrett, played in the same team in 2012.
While both the Boshier brothers were unaware of the prominent history, they are looking forward to the first competition match of the season together.
“Growing up it’s something you always wanted to do together and to be named is really special,” Kaylum said.
He said his older brother, Lachlan, has been helpful at trainings and has been talking about what to improve on. Lachlan echoed the same comments about playing with his brother saying he is looking forward to ‘getting stuck in with him.’
“I guess nothing really changes, we just go out there, do our jobs well and hopefully get the win,” he said.
Three Taranaki players will be making their debuts for the province on Saturday after strong CMK club rugby campaigns.
Donald Brighouse will be the first after being named to start at prop and loose forward Johnny Faletagoa’i-Malase and midfielder Regan Verney will potentially gain a cap each if required off the bench. Captain and lock Mitch Brown will play his first match for the Bulls since 2016.
There is plenty of experience in the season opener with hooker Ricky Riccitelli, No. 8 Pita-Gus Sowakula, halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi and midfielders Teihorangi Walden and Sean Wainui all in the starting XV.
Jayson Potroz will earn his first Mitre 10 Cup start for Taranaki at fullback and will add to his existing three caps.
There is depth on the bench with prop Chris Gawler, lock Jesse Parete and halfback Warwick Lahmert named.
Head coach Willie Rickards said the preparation leading into the first match of the season had been positive.
“We have had a really good pre-season campaign and it gave us a chance to have a look at certain parts of our game plan and combinations. A lot of players earned critical game time as well,” he said.
“Counties Manukau are a strong side and we are aware of the threat they bring to the competition. We are looking forward to it.”
Taranaki played three pre-season matches and suffered injuries to a few players. Loose forward Heiden Bedwell-Curtis suffered a fractured cheekbone in the final pre-season match against Waikato which will require surgery and will miss the first part of the competition.