Whitelock to skipper Canterbury

Date published: July 28 2015

Canterbury head coach Scott Robertson has announced his squad for the upcoming ITM Cup campaign, with seven uncapped players named in the group.

Robertson revealed the exciting new talent would compliment the existing experience in the squad and is eager to see the new players in action.

"We're blessed with some fantastic experience in our squad and that is going to be well balanced this year with some keen and talented new players joining the group for 2015. That includes three players who were involved in the New Zealand U20 World Cup winning side this year – backs Nathanial Apa and Jack Goodhue and forward Mitch Dunshea, who will be looking to make his Canterbury debut," he told Canterbury's website.

"Two of the new caps for 2015, Rowland-Keni Kotobalavu Jr. and Benjamin Matwijow, have moved from Australia to take a place in the Canterbury squad. Matwijow has been involved with the Western Force at Super Rugby level, while Kotobalavu has been impressing on the wing at schools level in Australia.

"Another winger looking to make his Canterbury debut is Tulolo Tulolo, who has been a try-scoring sensation for New Brighton this club season."

Canterbury's other new faces are Marshall Suckling, who returns to his home province after representing Otago for the last few seasons; Jack Stratton, who was brought into the Crusaders Wider Training Group this year and will provide cover for Andy Ellis while he is required with the All Blacks; and NZ Universities hooker Nick Werahiko who will provide cover for Codie Taylor in the squad while he is with the All Blacks.

Robertson added: "Re-joining the squad after nine years playing rugby in France and Japan is first-five Cameron McIntyre. Cam already has six seasons and 31 caps for Canterbury to his name, so it's awesome to welcome someone with his experience back into the fold.

"I am thrilled to announce that our captain for 2015 will be Luke Whitelock, who possesses all of the qualities that we look for in a leader and is held in very high regard by his team-mates."

2015 Canterbury ITM Cup squad: Nathaniel Apa, Dominic Bird, Jed Brown, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Dunshea, Sione Faletau, Ben Funnell, Jack Goodhue, Alex Hodgman, Milford Keresoma, Rowland-Keni Kotobalavu Jr, Daniel Lienert-Brown, Cameron McIntyre, Johnny McNicholl, JJ Manning, Ben Matwijow, Richie Mo'unga, Patrick Osborne, Reed Prinsep, Tom Sanders, Jack Stratton, Marshall Suckling, Tom Taylor, Rob Thompson, Siate Tokolahi, Tulolo Tulolo, Nick Werahiko, Luke Whitelock (c).

Injured (out for season): Scott Barrett

Current All Blacks: Dan Carter, Wyatt Crockett, Ryan Crotty, Andy Ellis, Owen Franks, Nepo Laulala, Richie McCaw, Joe Moody, Kieran Read, Luke Romano, Colin Slade, Codie Taylor, Matt Todd, Sam Whitelock.