New Zealand Under 20 team named to play England

Jun 19 • General News, International, Junior Rugby, World Rugby, World Rugby Junior Championship • 1734 Views • Comments Off on New Zealand Under 20 team named to play England

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The New Zealand team to take on England in the final of the World Rugby Under 20 Championship 2015 in Cremona, Italy, has been named.

The team is as follows:

1  Ricky Riccitelli                 Hawke’s Bay
2  Liam Polwart                    Auckland
3  Atunaisa Moli (C)              Waikato
4  Joshua Goodhue               Canterbury
5  Hamish Dalzell                 Canterbury
6  Mitchell Dunshea              Canterbury
7  Blake Gibson                    Auckland
8  Akira Ioane                      Auckland
9  Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi     Taranaki
10  Otere Black                      Manawatu
11  Tevita Li                          North Harbour
12  Tinoai (TJ) Faiane            Auckland
13  Anton Lienert-Brown        Waikato
14  Jack Goodhue                  Canterbury
15  Mitchell Hunt                   Auckland

Reserves:

16  Steven Misa                     Waikato
17  Isileli Tu’ungafasi             Auckland
18  Tau Koloamatangi            Waikato
19  Mitchell Jacobson            Waikato
20  Henry Stowers                 Wellington
21  Harrison Levien               Waikato
22  Vincent Tavae-Aso           Auckland
23  George Bridge                 Canterbury

Head Coach Scott Robertson, and assistant coaches Leon MacDonald and Tana Umaga, have made one change to the starting 15 which beat France 45-7 in the semi-final earlier in the week.

“We’ve been forced to make a change with James Blackwell being ruled out with a head knock,” explained Robertson. “That brings Mitch Jacobson on to the bench and Mitch Dunshea starts.”

The New Zealand players made the most of the last four days in the lead-up to the final and Robertson believes his team is in a good space. “We’ve had a good week: we’ve got to get our bodies right and our minds ready, so we can perform on the bigger stage,” he explained.

“Our focus this week has been making sure we’re really clear on how we’re going to play and who we’re playing. We obviously need to understand how England execute, but probably the biggest thing is to make sure we’re in a really good mindset to perform.”

New Zealand dominated the French during their comfortable win on Monday evening. France’s only try was once again the result of a powerful catch and drive from a line-out, which seems to be the biggest challenge for New Zealand during this tournament.

“We managed to split the French rolling mauls and at key times defend pretty stoutly in our line-out. We took a lot of their spirit away,” acknowledged Robertson.

“We’re going to have to be that good again against a well-drilled English pack. England are very well structured and well coached, and they’ve got a lot of systems that work. They’ve shown that when they execute, they’re an extremely tough team to beat.

“The rolling maul is a real strength of theirs and our ability to make sure we can stop it and commit, and compete in that area is critical for us.”

Robertson is acutely aware that the only four tries scored against his team during this championship have been the result of short-range drives. “We’ve had a lot of maul practice during this World Cup and that’s been a real focus for us,” he said.

New Zealand will play England this Saturday 20 June at 8.30pm local time (Sunday 21 June, 6.30am NZST) at Stadio Giovanni Zini, Cremona, Italy.

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