New Zealand Under 20 Coach Craig Philpott has made three changes in the starting line up to play France in the World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final in France tomorrow morning.
The match will be played at a sold-out Stade Aime-Giral in Perpignan, kick off 9pm tomorrow (7am Wednesday NZT).
The team is;
|1. Xavier Numia||Wellington|
|2. Flynn Thomas||Southland|
|3. Tevita Mafileo||Bay of Plenty|
|4. Laghlan McWhannell||Waikato|
|5. Will Tucker||Canterbury|
|6. Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa||Auckland|
|7. Tom Christie – captain||Canterbury|
|8. Devan Flanders||Hawke’s Bay|
|9. Xavier Roe||Waikato|
|10. Harry Plummer||Auckland|
|11. Caleb Clarke||Auckland|
|12. Scott Gregory||Northland|
|13. Billy Proctor||Wellington|
|14. Bailyn Sullivan||Waikato|
|15. Vilimoni Koroi||Otago|
|16. Ricky Jackson||Otago|
|17. Sione Asi||Manawatu|
|18. Kaliopasi Uluilakepa||Wellington|
|19. Will Tremain||Hawke’s Bay|
|20. Hoskins Sotutu||Auckland|
|21. Jay Renton||Southland|
|22. Kaleb Trask||Bay of Plenty|
|23. Jamie Spowart||Tasman|
NOTE: Rob Cobb (ankle) has been ruled out of the remainder of the tournament and has been replaced by Waikato’s Ollie Norris. Ngane Punivai and Quinn Tupaea have also joined the team as injury replacements.
Coach Craig Philpott has named a relatively unchanged line up with Xavier Numia replacing the injured Rob Cobb, while Will Tucker and Xavier Roe are promoted from the bench.
“Will Tucker comes in at lock and gives us a bit of extra height, we’ve been impressed with his performances in the first two games and he came off the bench against Australia and added good impact.
“There was a real headache at nine, because we have two players who are both in really good form. But for this game against France, with the style of rugby we want to play, we think Xavier (Roe) is our best suited halfback,” said Philpott.
In their final pool play match against Australia, the team fronted a 10,000-strong crowd, which Philpott said was a learning curve. The same venue has sold out, with 14,000 expected for tomorrow’s semi-final.
“It is going to be a massive game in terms of crowd noise. The game against Australia was noisy enough, this is going to be something different. The biggest issue is communication and players being able to hear each other. It’s important we have tight connections and that everyone is on the same page.
Philpott said coming up against the hosts was an exciting prospect, France progressed to the semi-finals after a dominant 46-29 win over South Africa.
“They dismantled South Africa in the space of 35 minutes in their last pool game.
“This team play the way their senior team play; they have big dynamic ball carriers and want to attack. They play a style that we are probably a bit more used to so there is an upside in that for us.”
In the other semi-final, England face South Africa.