Lions Squad Announced for Bunnings NPC

Created by Brad Newson | |   News

Leo Crowley has named a 35-man squad for the upcoming Bunnings NPC campaign

Wellington Lions Head Coach Leo Crowley has named a 35-man squad for the upcoming Bunnings NPC campaign.  

The squad is once again captained by 24-year-old loose forward Du’Plessis Kirifi, who led the side through the 2019 and 2020 seasons.  

Crowley has been impressed with how Kirifi has grown into the leadership role over the last couple of years. 

“He’s a ‘follow me’ leader, puts his body on the line and expects everyone to follow. He has good support around him from experienced players such as Julian Savea and James Blackwell. 

Now in his second year in charge, Crowley is looking forward to the upcoming campaign. 

“We’re excited with the calibre of players we have; it’s been a tough process selecting but we have come together really well. To go with our experienced campaigners, we have 9 players who are 21 and under, there is plenty of fresh energy and it’s exciting to get started.” 

Additions to the squad include new signings Dominic Bird, Richard Judd and former Wallaby Pekahou Cowan. 

The squad features four players in the All Blacks squad, to go along with 19 Super Rugby players from the 2021 season. 

“The Super Rugby players have had a longer break this year, last year they only had 2 weeks. They have come back with plenty of energy and are looking forward to getting started. Everyone in the squad is expected to add value.” 

“Having players like Josh Southall, Keelan Whitman and Iona Apineru join us from the academy is extra special as they get to link up with previous academy players who came into the squad last year like Caleb Delany and Taine Plumtree.” 

There is also one new addition to the coaching team, with former Hurricane Paul Tito joining the coaching lineup alongside Crowley, Greg Halford and Tamati Ellison. Tito played 84 games for the Hurricanes and has returned to New Zealand after most recently being the forwards coach at Pau in France.  

The Lions will commence their Premiership competition firstly against Northland at Sky Stadium on August 7 at 2:05PM.  

The squad is as follows (* denotes uncapped) 

  1. Tomasi Alosio 
  2. Iona Apineru * 
  3. Fraser Armstrong * 
  4. Vince Aso 
  5. Asafo Aumua 
  6. Dominic Bird * 
  7. James Blackwell 
  8. Dane Coles 
  9. Connor Collins 
  10. Pekahou Cowan * 
  11. Caleb Delany 
  12. Alex Fidow 
  13. Connor Garden-Bachop 
  14. Jackson Garden-Bachop 
  15. Wes Goosen 
  16. Richard Judd * 
  17. Bruce Kauika-Petersen 
  18. Du’Plessis Kirifi 
  19. Ruben Love 
  20. Brandyn Laursen 
  21. Aidan Morgan 
  22. Xavier Numia 
  23. James O’Reilly 
  24. Pepesana Patafilo 
  25. TJ Perenara 
  26. Taine Plumtree 
  27. Billy Proctor 
  28. Vincent Sakaria 
  29. Ardie Savea 
  30. Julian Savea 
  31. Sam Smith 
  32. Josh Southall * 
  33. Tyrone Thompson 
  34. Peter Umaga-Jensen 
  35. Keelan Whitman * 

For more information please contact: 

Rebecca Ambler 
Communications Manager & Media Relations 
+64 22 413 4237