South African flanker Eben Joubert has been named captain of a new look Otago provincial rugby team that assembles on Monday in preparation for the 2011 ITM Cup.
Joubert is in his fourth season with the Razorbacks after moving to New Zealand in 2008 to further his rugby and academic career after playing in Pretoria as part of the Bulls Super Rugby setup.
Joubert will be ably supported by senior players such as Kees Meeuws, Tom Donnelly and Tony Brown, with the team playing at the new Forsyth Barr Stadium for the last two home games of the competition.
The 2011 Otago side has a new look this season, with 16 new contracts offered to players from within Otago and from around New Zealand, the most notable of which is former All Black Ben Atiga, who was also involved in the Highlanders wider training squad this season.
Atiga will join veteran first five Brown in a new look backline that includes New Zealand sevens star Buxton Popalii and established Otago and Highlanders fullback Ben Smith, also widely tipped for an All Blacks return this international season.
The forward pack sees the return of Meeuws for another season in the blue and gold front row, while backing him up at setpiece time will be All Blacks Tom Donnelly and Adam Thomson.
Former Queensland Reds coach Phil Mooney will share coaching duties with local product Andy Hunter.
Forwards - Eben Joubert (Harbour) - Captain; Sam Anderson-Heather (Dunedin), Halani Aulika (Pirates), Liam Coltman (Alhambra Union), Daniel Crichton (Pirates), Tom Donnelly (Matakanui Combined), Gareth Evans (Dunedin), Tom Franklin (Southern), Paul Grant (University), Adam Hill (Kaikorai), TJ Ioane (Southern); Jason Macdonald (Taieri), James Mcgougan, Scott Manson (Alhambra Union), Kees Meeuws (Southern), Daniel Ramsay (Zingari Richmond), Adam Thomson (University), Regan Tamihere (Alhambra Union), Rob Verbakel (University)
Backs - Ben Atiga (Kaikorai), Tony Brown (Harbour), Glenn Dickson (Pirates), Tony Fenner (Southern), Hanipale Galo (Green Island), Sam Giddens (Dunedin), Joe Hill (Southern), Johhny Legg (Harbour), Hayden Parker (Taieri), Buxton Popoalii (Green Island), Sean Romans (University), Ben Smith (Green Island)