New Zealand Under 20 squad named for World Rugby tournament

May 12 • General News, International • 1344 Views • Comments Off on New Zealand Under 20 squad named for World Rugby tournament

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The New Zealand squad to compete in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy next month, has been named.

The squad is:

FORWARDS

Isileli Tu’ungafasi
Tau Koloamatangi
Aidan Ross
Atunaisa Moli
Liam Polwart
Steven Misa
Ricky Riccitelli
Mitchell Dunshea
Geoffrey Cridge
Joshua Goodhue
James Blackwell
Mitchell Jacobson
Blake Gibson
Mitchell Karpik
Akira Ioane
Henry Stowers

Province

Auckland
Waikato
Bay of Plenty
Waikato
Auckland
Waikato
Hawke’s Bay
Canterbury
Hawke’s Bay
Canterbury
Wellington
Waikato
Auckland
Auckland
Auckland
Wellington

Position

Prop
Prop
Prop
Prop
Hooker
Hooker
Prop/Hooker
Lock/Loose Forward
Lock
Lock
Lock
Loose Forward
Loose Forward
Loose Forward
Loose Forward
Loose Forward

BACKS

Harrison Levien*
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
Otere Black
Mitchell Hunt
Tinoai (TJ) Faiane
Jack Goodhue
Anton Lienert-Brown
Nathaniel Apa
Tevita Li
Vincent Tavae-Aso
George Bridge
Luteru Laulala

Waikato
Taranaki
Manawatu
Auckland
Auckland
Canterbury
Waikato
Canterbury
North Harbour
Auckland
Canterbury
Canterbury

Halfback
Halfback
First-five-eighth
First-five-eighth
Midfield
Midfield
Midfield
Wing/Midfield
Wing
Wing
Fullback
Fullback

*indicates player eligible to play in 2016

Not available due to injury:  Leni Apisai (Wellington and Hurricanes).

New Zealand Under 20 Head Coach Scott Robertson and assistant coaches Leon MacDonald and Tana Umaga confirmed their final selections after winning all their matches at the Oceania Rugby Junior Championship in Australia last week.

The squad includes eight players from last year’s squad bringing invaluable tournament experience to the 2015 campaign.  A total 10 players in the squad have also had either ITM Cup or Investec Super Rugby experience.

Scott Robertson said the Oceania tournament had been the perfect preparation for the World Championship.

“We really got to test our combinations and to put the boys under some pressure in both the tournament environment with short turn arounds between games, and the competition for positions,” he said.

They were now looking ahead to the World Championship in Italy.

“We’re excited to finally settle on our squad which we believe has the ability to perform at this tournament.  We’ve think we’ve got the balance right between experience and talent to give us the best opportunity to do well.

“The World Rugby Under 20s is a unique opportunity for these boys to perform well on a world stage,” he said.

Returning prop Atunaisa Moli continues his captaincy duties from the Oceania tournament.

“Atu Moli is a big strong 125k prop and it’s his second year.  He’s a natural leader who is hugely respected and has a lot of mana in our group. We know he’ll lead the boys through his actions.”

Robertson said conditioning had helped to improve the scrum from last year, and the locking stocks and loose forwards provided a great mix of leadership and quality athletes.

“Our locks are big, tall and strong with the likes of Geoff Cridge coming out of the Hurricanes – that makes a massive difference for us along with guys who have been really focussed on their core roles and aerial skills.

“Otere Black will lead our backline, he’s a strong leader, he’s played ITM Cup, and he’s in the Hurricanes wider training group. He’ll lead us around the field well alongside a group of other players with great ITM Cup and Super Rugby experience.

“We’ve got a good mix across the backline helped by the power that Nathanial Apa brings.  We’ve got a bit of pace, guys who can play in different positions and we’ve got depth in our squad, which is really exciting for us.”

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