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Five Players to Watch: Southland Stags

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Sunday, July 29, 2018    Jack Sergent-Shadbolt    Getty Images

Some new signings combined with a few familiar faces should have them back competing strongly in this year’s Mitre 10 Cup. Here are five players to watch from the mighty Southland Stags.

Brayden Mitchell
The hooker and captain will be leading the Stags from the front this year, building on the 45 caps he already has for his beloved Southland. Mitchell has crucial experience at Super Rugby level, having played for both the Highlanders and the Hurricanes in the past. He’ll be able to impart knowledge on his young team and his accuracy at scrum and line-out time will be crucial to the Stags improving on a disappointing 2017 campaign. 

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Jack Capil 
An Invercargill local from the Star Rugby Club, this young lock will be looking to make 2018 his breakout season with the Stags. Having made the squad last year, Capil returns with his agility and pace in the second row being a feature of his game. His selection exemplifies the youthful look of this Southland team with young players like Capil and prop Shaun Stoddard gaining vital experience at this level.

James Wilson
The Southland utility returns from a stellar season with Bath bringing a wealth of experience that will be hugely beneficial in this year’s Mitre 10 Cup campaign. With 65 southland Caps to his name and some brilliant performances for his side in the past, Wilson will be able to marshal the backline with authority. His goal-kicking expertise will also come in handy on blustery days in the deep south. Wilson hasn’t played for the Stags since 2011, so his return will be welcomed by Southland fans across the region.


Ray Nu’u
The Canterbury recruit will be playing his debut season for Southland and should provide flair to the backline. At 20-years-old, the second five-eighth has gained a reputation as a busting runner for Sydenham in the Christchurch club rugby competition. He’ll be looking to create a lethal combination in midfield with Matt Johnson and the pair will no doubt become a key component if the side is to find success. Nu’u’s aggression in both defence and attack will have Stags fans excited and opposition teams wary.

Tony Lamborn
The big loose forward brings a wealth of experience to the Stags which will help to galvanise a young forward pack. With 39 games for Hawkes Bay, four caps for the Hurricanes and 16 Test matches for USA, Lamborn has made a name for himself as a strong tackler and ball runner. His experience will be a great asset to the young players around him.