Current and former Vodafone Warriors will be in plentiful supply when Auckland and the Tonga New Zealand Residents do battle at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday (2.30pm kick-off).

Featuring iN the Auckland side will be centre Cole Waaka (Northcote), who has appeared eight times for the Vodafone Warriors in the Intrust Super Premiership so far this season. Waaka was recently named the New Zealand Defence Force Sports Person of the Year.

Auckland's co-captain Jethro Friend (Howick) played for the Vodafone Junior Warriors in the NYC in 2012 and has also appeared in the club's ISP side in the past.

Others with Vodafone Warriors connections in the Auckland side are centre Lafu Feagaiga (Mangere East), Corey Seator (Mount Albert), Simon Luafalealo (Glenora), Michael Ki (Point Chevalier), Taylor Daniels (Northcote), Reece Charlie (Howick), Abraham Papali'i (Point Chevalier) and Chris Sio (Point Chevalier). Former Vodafone Junior Warriors coach Grant Pocklington is the Auckland coach.

Captaining the Tonga New Zealand Residents is ex-Vodafone Junior Warriors and ISP front rower Dan Palavi while players with Vodafone Warriors links past or present are Tevita Mikaele (Otahuhu), Sione Tongia (Otahuhu), Willie Stowers (Papakura), Eko Malu (Northcote), Trent Schaumkel (Northcote), Joseph Price (Mount Albert), Kruz Tupou (Howick) and Koli Oneone (Point Chevalier). Foundation Auckland Warrior and former Vodafone Warriors academy and pathways manager Duane Mann is coaching the Tonga side; the ex-Kiwi captain is also a former Mate Ma'a Tonga coach and captain.

Friend will start at dummy half and fellow co-captain Jordan Tuarae at standoff, leading an Auckland team which also includes 2017 SAS Fox Memorial Premiership player of the year Daniels.

Last season Tuarae played a key role in guiding the Glenora Bears to their first Fox Memorial title in 18 years, while in recent times Friend has established himself as the premier hooker in the Auckland competition captaining the Howick Hornets.

The late withdrawal of Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck, who is with the Vodafone Warriors' ISP side this weekend, has opened the door for Luafalealo to get a start on the wing.

 

AUCKLAND v TONGA NEW ZEALAND RESIDENTS

Mount Smart Stadium, Auckland
2.30pm, Saturday, June 2

AUCKLAND

1 POLIMA SIAKI (Glenora)
2 COREY SEATOR (Mt Albert)
3 COLE WAAKA (Northcote)
4 LAFU FEAGAIGA (Mangere East)
5 SIMON LUAFALEALO (Glenora)
6 JORDAN TUARAE (Glenora) co-captain
7 REECE JOYCE (Mt Albert)
8 JAMEL HUNT (Papakura)
9 JETHRO FRIEND (Howick) co-captain
10 MICHAEL KI (Pt Chevalier)
11 TAYLOR DANIELS (Northcote)
12 DANIEL REUELU-BUCHANAN (Glenora)
13 REECE CHARLIE (Howick)
Interchange:
14 ABRAHAM PAPALII (Pt Chevalier)
15 CHRIS SIO (Pt Chevalier)
16 MATTI TUITAMA (Pt Chevalier)
17 MOSES OGE (Bay Roskill)
18 HOWARD BROWN (Mangere East)

COACH: GRANT POCKLINGTON


TONGA NEW ZEALAND RESIDENTS

1 TEVITA MIKAELE (Otahuhu)
2 ETHAN NUKANUKA (Otahuhu)
3 SIONE TONGIA (Otahuhu)
4 PETER OLIVETTI (Mt Albert)
5 AKUILA TUHA (Papakura)
6 WILLIE STOWERS (Papakura)
7 EKO MALU (Northcote)
8 SAIMONE MAKAHILI (Mt Albert)
9 NETANE VI (Mangere East)
10 DANIEL PALAVI (Pt Chevalier) captain
11 MA'AFU BRIGGS (Marist)
12 TRENT SCHAUMKEL (Northcote)
13 JOSEPH PRICE (Mt Albert)
Interchange:
14 JONAH SOFELE (Otahuhu)
15 KRUZ TUPOU (Howick)
16 HOSEA TAUKATELATA (Glenora)
17 KOLI ONEONE (Pt Chevalier)

COACH: DUANE MANN