NZ Rugby World - First XV - - CENTRAL NI -

Be­ing the champs doesn’t guar­an­tee a thing for a new sea­son and coach Gibbs knows all about it – he has about a dozen spots to re­fill from last year’s win­ning squad. Built around the corner­stone of de­fence, the St. Paul’s mantra around the pad­dock is to keep it sim­ple and with this comes the clar­ity that aided them to go un­beaten through the 2015 roundrobin with the equal most tries for and least against. Gibbs knows there’s im­prove­ment to come and has high­lighted the break­down as an area for some touch ups. He has a head start there. In Con­nor Gor­don – the lad he calls “a tough hombre” – he has the pro­to­typ­i­cal New Zealand open­side, strong and coura­geous in equal doses. The only side to tip up Feild­ing High last year (twice), it helps they have some elec­tric­ity in the back­line too with hot step­per Della Neli and whip­pet Tom Yar­rall back again for their Year 13. Neli’s quick feet and se­cure de­fence earned him a Waikato Sevens squad call up and Yar­rall ran a cool 11.33 at last year’s 100m Na­tion­als when he wasn’t one of North­ern Dis­trict’s emerg­ing crick­eters.

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