While some media and some supporters may see Rotorua as ‘damaged goods’ after the 2015 eligibility saga, the reality is the First XV will again present a strong side and should command respect as the national Top 4 champion. The April trip to the Sanix world tournament in Japan will have Ngarimu Simpkins’ charges primed and ready for the Chiefs Cup and Super 8. Rotorua have as many as 15 returning, though fullback Isaac Te Aute has left, as have seven others. “We’ve got some good, young boys coming through,” says Simpkins. “I’m really excited about our plan.” There is an interesting new recruit from Levin in openside flanker Jake Quinn, in a similar mould to Jade Honeycombe, who made the Rotorua No 7 jersey his own for two seasons. Then there are hookers Raniera Whakataka and Tane Puka, who will complement the work of big No 8 Viliami Tosi. In the backs watch for halfback Te Ra Whata, centre Hayze Perham and Kaleb Trask, at home anywhere in the back three.