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Makos B team begin campaign in Christchurch

NZ Sevens player Tone Ng Shiu wil be a key member of the Tasman Makos B side that takes on Canterbury B in Christchurch ...

NZ Sevens player Tone Ng Shiu wil be a key member of the Tasman Makos B side that takes on Canterbury B in Christchurch on Saturday.

The Tasman Makos B rugby team kick off their two-match campaign with a demanding fixture against Canterbury B in Christchurch on Saturday.

The Tasman combination, a mix of players from the Griffins, Makos and under-19 sides, will have their work cut out, having to come together quickly as a team and facing a side from the country's most powerful province.

Coaches Mark Stewart and Sam Gibbens have named a side full of potential. A notable addition is young prop Ryan Coxon, a player contracted to the Makos who is making a return from injury.  Alongside him will be Brendan Asomua-Goodman and Drew Petelo, who have both had game time for the top team.

The loose forward trio of Braden Stewart, Willis Scott and Tone Ng Shiu are highly thought of and will relish the chance to mix it with their Red and Black rivals. Ben Finau and James Hawkey, two men on the fringe of the Makos, will handle the inside back roles with strike power from the likes of Johnny Ika, Sam Chamberlain and Fletcher Matthews out wide.

Coach Stewart said, "this will be a big learning curve for some of them, but it also offers them a chance to step up".

"This team is basically a development side, looking at players who are expected to become Makos in the next year or so. It gives the younger guys guys exposure to the next level up.

"I would expect Canterbury to put out a very strong side so it will be a tough game. But our guys should all get something out of it."

The Makos trained together for the first time on Tuesday and will have a second run on Friday prior to heading south. Some of the squad are still carrying injuries after recent tournaments so will be rested for this encounter and are expected to return for the side's second game, against Wellington B in Blenheim on September 30.

Tasman B (possible starting line-up): Sam Chamberlain, Tomas Aoake, Fletcher Matthews, Nick Foxley, Johnny Ika, James Hawkey, Ben Finau; Tone Ng Shiu, Braden Stewart, Willis Scott, Gabba de Kock, Mike Curry, Drew Petelo, Brendan Asomua-Goodman, Ryan Coxon. Bench: Sam Moli, Pelefoti Saki, Ethan Reuben, Jack Best, Sam Liebezeit, Jack Grooby, Glen Ballam, Julius Togafau.

Kick off 12.30pm, Saturday at Linwood Rugby Club