23 Feb 2016

Chiefs add two to squad

10:17 am on 23 February 2016

The Chiefs have added two players to their roster following a couple of season-ending injuries.

All Black prop Nepo Laulala and promising flanker Mitchell Karpik were both ruled out of the Super Rugby competition after suffering serious knee injuries.

Japan prop Hiroshi Yamashita

Japan prop Hiroshi Yamashita Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Chiefs have picked up Japan prop Hiroshi Yamashita and Counties Manukau openside flanker Sam Henwood.

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said: "Sam had an impressive ITM Cup and was unlucky not to be selected for a Super Rugby team. He's been playing in Portugal and is in good nick. Sam is ambitious, professional and excited to test himself at this level. Yama is an experienced international prop and has quickly made an impression since his arrival. He earned the respect of his teammates immediately through his work ethic and his sense of humour."

30-year-old Hiroshi Yamashita joins his Japan Rugby World Cup teammate and captain Michael Leitch in the Chiefs squad.

The tighthead prop joined the Chiefs environment under the high performance partnership between the Chiefs and Kobe based rugby club, the Kebelco Steelers. The partnership includes players visiting the Chiefs each year to assist their rugby development by exposure to the demands of Investec Super Rugby through the University of Waikato Chiefs Development Programme. The 49-Test prop's scrummaging quickly impressed the Chiefs coaches prompting his inclusion in the squad as an injury replacement.

Sam Henwood was three months into his second season with Portuguese side Tecnico when he was beckoned home to join the Chiefs in the wake of a season-ending knee injury to Mitchell Karpik. 24-year old Henwood had been sharing his time between his commitments to Mitre 10 Cup team Counties Manukau and Tecnico who compete in Portugal's top national competition.

Counties Manukau is well represented in the 2016 Chiefs squad with Henwood joining seven of his Steelers teammates in the team.

The former Kings College 1st fifteen captain has played for both Auckland and Counties Manukau in the national provincial competition, combining his rugby with tertiary study.