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Who They'll Face In The Tour Opener.
6 June 2005, 1:12 pm
No matter how the Lions management talk up this Bay of Plenty side, the fact is that of the starting XV, only nine have Super 12 experience.
No matter how the Lions management talk up this Bay of Plenty side, the fact is that of their starting XV, only nine have Super 12 experience. And if you remove former All Black, Adrian Cashmore (48 S12 caps), from the equation, the remaining 8 have accumulated just 41 Super 12 caps between them.

Bay of Plenty. Br> (1). Simms Davison; Like Ben Castle, Davison served his propping apprenticeship in the rugged Otago scene, and has emerged as one of the best technical scrummagers in the country. In his fourth season with Bay of Plenty, Davison is now firmly entrenched as one of the senior players and has also sealed a permanent spot in the Chiefs.

(2).Aleki Lutui: There a few more fearsome sights on a rugby field than Lutui, ball in hand, charging into the opposition ranks. The 26-year-old former policeman came out to New Zealand four years ago from Tonga to further his rugby career and has become a somewhat talismanic figure for the Western Bay Finance Steamers. Into his second year as a Super 12 player.

(3). Ben Castle: With a double degree from Otago University, Castle was spat out of the Dunedin frontrow factory in 2003, and arrived in Bay of Plenty as a relative unknown. Within a season, however, his superb technique and physical condition had elevated him into the Chiefs. The tighthead specialist is a formidable defender and has an enormous work rate around the field.

(4). Mark Sorenson: Sorenson is a Katikati local who spent time at Waikato University, then Scotland, before deciding to settle back in Bay Of Plenty. He took a season to cement his position at lock but is now an established member of the team. Front of lineout jumper who is very athletic and has a high level of fitness.

(5).Bernie Upton: A former Wellington agegroup representative, Upton shifted north two years ago after finding his way blocked in the Capital rugby system. It's a move which has paid significant dividends - after another superb NPC season last year, he was selected for the Chiefs and has already impressed in Super 12 with his rugged play and strong middle of the lineout work.

(6). Wayne Ormond: Ormond is the inspirational captain of Bay of Plenty, the NPC Player of the year last year and a fierce, uncompromising flanker. He captained the Western Bay Finance Steamers to their Ranfurly Shield win last year and is now in his third season of Super 12 with the Chiefs. Strong family man who spends as much of his spare time as possible with his two children.

(7). Nili Latu: Dynamic openside flanker that has improved every match since his debut in 2003, Latu was rewarded with a Super 12 contract this season with the Chiefs and has used the full-time professional environment to hone his already-impressive fitness. The former New Zealand secondary school flanker moved up from Wellington two years ago.

(8). Colin Bourke: Signed by Bay of Plenty from Hawkes Bay last year, Bourke was a revelation at No 8 for the Western Bay Finance Steamers, displaying incredible maturity for a teenager and seemingly unlimited ball skills. He's played first-class rugby in three backline positions and is also a prodigious goal-kicker. Confirmed his massive potential by winning a Super 12 contract with the Highlanders this year.

(9). Kevin Senio: The former Auckland and Counties-Manukau halfback was given a lifeline by Bay of Plenty in 2003 after a serious run of injuries and has transformed the team with his brilliant distribution. Unfortunately injury struck again last year when he broke his ankle against Taranaki, but had still done enough to be selected for the Chiefs this season.

(10). Murray Williams: A former New Zealand Colt, Williams was signed by Bay of Plenty at the end of last season after making his debut for Auckland and kicking Ponsonby to a Galllagher Shield win. He has also represented New Zealand at secondary school and under-19 level, and is a sharp running first-five with excellent defence.

(11). Anthony Tahana: Tahana was the top try-scorer for the Western Bay Finance Steamers last year and is a deadly accurate wing with a huge heart. After a stint with North Harbour while he finished his carpentry apprenticeship, Tahana moved back to Bay of Plenty in 2003 and has been a first-choice wing ever since. He is strong and resilient and can shut down opposition attack as surely as he can spark his own.

(12). Grant McQuoid: McQuoid has has been a professional rugby player since he finished a brilliant schoolboy career with Matamata College. He has represented New Zealand at every agegroup level, and has also played sevens for the national team. McQuoid moved to Bay of Plenty from Waikato in 2002 after battling injury, and made the switch from fullback to midfield the next season.

(13). Allan Bunting: A product of Rotorua Boys High School, Bunting could have been a highly successful cricketer had he elected to skip his rugby career. He is a reliable centre with great ball skills and he is a good thinker on the field. Although his career has been blighted by injury, Bunting has played sevens for New Zealand and is a fringe member of the Chiefs Super 12 squad.

(14). Filimoni Bolovucu: Bolovucu signed with Bay of Plenty this year after playing six games for Waikato in the NPC last year. The former Fijian Colts and sevens representative has pace to burn and is extremely elusive.

(15). Adrian Cashmore: The former All Black and Blues star decided to finish his career back where it started, returning to Bay of Plenty last year after three years in Japan. But his form was so outstanding that he won selection to the Super 12 with the Chiefs and is back for another season with the Western Bay Finance Steamers.

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