21 Aug 2012

Auckland name team for opening ITM Cup clash

2:25 pm on 21 August 2012

The All Black prop Charlie Faumuina will to start for Auckland in their provincial rugby campaign opener against Hawke's Bay in Napier on Thursday night.

The front rower has been released by the All Blacks for the match.

Faumuina's inclusion is a boost for Auckland, with Hawke's Bay boasting a powerful scrum spearheaded by Chiefs prop Ben Tameifuna and hooker Hika Elliot.

Auckland will field a team featuring 14 Super Rugby players, with debutant centre Malakai Fekitoa the only player not to have pulled on the Blues jersey.

Wing Ben Lam will also make his first provincial appearance alongside bench players prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi, hooker Nathan Vella and first five Tony Fenner.

Auckland face an arduous start to their ITM Cup campaign with consecutive away games against Hawke's Bay and defending champions Canterbury.