30 Jul 2009

Shield up for grabs on Friday

7:38 am on 30 July 2009

Wellington and Otago will be playing for rugby's Ranfurly Shield when they meet at Westpac Stadium in the capital on Friday night in the opening round of the 2009 Air New Zealand Cup.

The Mike Gibson Memorial Trophy in honour of the former Wellington and Otago midfielder will also be on the line.

Wellington have named four players for their national debuts. IRB under-20 World Cup winners, No.8 Mathew Luamanu and second five-eighth Shaun Treeby both make the starting XV while flanker Masefau Leuluniu and outside back Alapati Leiua are in the reserves.

Right wing David Smith will also play his first Wellington game after transferring from Auckland while reserve halfback Ruki Tipuna from Bay of Plenty and reserve lock Daniel Ramsey of Southland will

all make their championship debuts for the Lions should they take the field against Otago.

The team, led by new captain and loosehead prop Jacob Ellison, features 13 current Super 14 players including six of the eight starting forwards and All Blacks left wing and 2008 record breaking try scorer Hosea Gear.

Squad: 1. Jacob Ellison (c), 2. Dane Coles, 3. John Schwalger, 4. Api Naikatini, 5. Jeremy Thrush, 6. Victor Vito, 7. Scott Fuglistaller, 8. Mathew Luamanu, 9. Alby Mathewson, 10. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 11. Hosea Gear, 12. Shaun Treeby, 13. Robert Fruean, 14. David Smith, 15. Buxton Popoalii

Reserves: 16. Ged Robinson, 17. Anthony Perenise, 18. Daniel Ramsay, 19. Masefau Leuluniu, 20. Ruki Tipuna, 21. Fa'atonu Fili, 22. Alapati Leiua