Steamers on track for new season
Bay of Plenty Steamers head coach Daryl Gibson is promising an exciting style of play from his team this season, with less than a month to go until they get their Bunnings NPC campaign underway.
The arrival of some impressive signings will no doubt help the Steamers in their bid to go one better than last season and make the final.
The Steamers have added Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Whetukamokamo Douglas and Sean Wainui in the off-season.
All three have recently played at Super Rugby level for the Highlanders, Crusaders and Chiefs respectively. Wainui is certain to bring excitement, after becoming the first man to score five tries in a single Super Rugby match in June.
“They are really going to add that Super Rugby quality and experience, and I think they are going to enjoy their time in the Bay,” says Gibson
He also suggests there may be more new faces to come before the squad is finalised at the end of the month, with “a few more spots to nail down”.
Gibson, who is currently working in his capacity as Fiji assistant coach ahead of their meeting with the All Blacks, is happy with how pre-season has gone so far.
The wider training group recently played Waikato in a friendly and gave the Tonga national team a 60-minute run-out whilst the 'Ikale Tahi trained in Tauranga.
As well as new signings coming into the set-up, Gibson is also happy to see young players from the club’s academy system and local clubs stepping up.
“It is all part of our pathway,” he says.
“That is really good progression and shows that young boys who stick at it can come through it.
“Plus, I think you will find a couple of players who have come from the outside will feature.
“That is what provincial rugby is all about. Finding that talent in different places and in the community.”
Gibson is also pleased with the coaching team the union has assembled for the season ahead, especially with two young Bay of Plenty coaches in former All Blacks Mike Delany and Tanerau Latimer involved.
“They will really help us make sure we stay connected to the identity and culture of the team,” says Gibson.
When it comes to that playing identity, Gibson says it will be similar to the club and schools rugby played across the region.
He wants his players to play free-flowing, ball-carrying rugby but with the extra toughness required to pick up silverware come the end of the season.
“If we can deliver an identity that really delivers to our people, that will go a long way to being a winning formula for our team,” he says.
“There is some real excitement building in the team about the season ahead.”
The Steamers play their first game of the season against reigning champions Tasman at 2:05pm on Sunday, August 8 at Tauranga Domain.