Six Ponsonby players have been named in the Auckland squad for their opening match of the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup competition against Canterbury this Saturday evening.

Named to start in the match are Greg Pleasants-Tate at hooker, and Vince Aso, Rieko Ioane and Pryor Collier featuring in the backs. Collier will make his Auckland Provincial debut, after joining the squad as injury cover and impressing in the two pre-season encounters, in addition to scoring a try in each game.

Starting from the match from bench is Akira Ioane and Michael Fatialofa.

Rieko and Akira Ioane returned from the Rio Olympics on Tuesday of this week, and despite being encouraged to have a two week break before committing any further rugby, the two brothers went straight to Auckland training, indicating their enthusiasm to be included in the squad for this fixture.

Auckland have not tasted victory against Canterbury in Christchurch since 2007.