The Mitre 10 Cup is just days away and New Zealand’s provincial competition is renowned for unearthing the stars of the future. We narrowed down our list to 10 stars who could have breakthrough campaigns that could lead to Super Rugby contracts next season.
Ereatara Enari (Scrumhalf) - Canterbury
This will be Enari’s third Mitre 10 Cup season but at the age of 21 he still relatively inexperienced having been ravaged with injuries.
Recovering from consecutive broken legs will be no easy feat for the young halfback, who has quite a reputation to live up to with his two uncles both representing the All Blacks - one of which being Hall of Famer Michael Jones. Enari was tipped to battle Hall and Drummond for a starting jersey with Crusaders after impressing Scott Robertson.
Kaleb Trask (Flyhalf) - Bay of Plenty
Trask is another New Zealand u20 that will look to build on a stellar season with the u20 side and push for a Super Rugby contract. His ability to fill in as an inside centre means he could increase his playing opportunities. Working with the experienced Mike Delany will certainly do him well.
Xavier Roe (Scrumhalf) - Taranaki
Another halfback to make the list, Roe impressed with the NZ u20s earlier this year and is expected to kick on with Taranaki, especially with Tahuriorangi in the All Blacks squad.
Dylan Nel (Loose Forward) - Otago
Durban-born Dylan Nel will look to make his mark with Otago this season after struggling to break into the Canterbury squad. Nel starred in the few appearances he made for Canterbury but the depth in the squad has limited his chances.
Devan Flanders (Loose Forward) - Hawke’s Bay
Flanders featured for an extremely successful Hasting Boys XV last year and has been involved with the Hurricanes squad this year. A robust ball carrier and hard hitter, Flanders was a regular in the NZ u20 side this year and could be one of the breakthrough talents in the Hawke’s Bay side that features 5 of his schoolboy teammates.
Kini Naholo (Winger) - Taranaki
Waisake Naholo’s younger brother Kini is set to follow in his brother’s footsteps in his debut season for Taranaki. He schoolboy rugby alight last year scoring 40 tries in 20 games for Hasting Boys and has showed similar form in Taranaki’s pre-season Ranfurly Shield defences.
Harry Plummer (Flyhalf) - Auckland
Plummer is the second flyhalf to feature on our list and was also a member of the New Zealand u20 side this year. Plumber made his debut for Auckland last year but will look to impress this Mitre 10 Cup season and make an early claim for Blues 10 jersey having already signed a two-year deal with the side.
Tom Christie (Loose forward) - Canterbury
The New Zealand u20 captain is hard-hitting blindside flanker that has the potential to claim a Super Rugby contract for the 2019 season. Christie is yet another leader to come out of the region and has massive engine allowing him to make countless tackles and carries in 80 minutes.
Etene Nanai-Seturo (Winger) - Counties Manukau
Having already shown his class with the New Zealand 7s and at schoolboy level, all eyes will be on Nanai-Seturo throughout the competition. He is yet to feature in the XV a side game and he will most likely start on the wing or at fullback for Counties.
Kianu Kereru-Symes (Prop) - Hawke’s Bay
The list would not be complete without a powerful front rower with Asafo Aumua and Alex Fidow starring in last year’s edition of the competition. Kereru-Symes is another Hasting Boys graduate who will want to continue his rise to prominence with his former schoolboy coach at the helm of the Magpies.