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New Zealand squad named for Oceania Under 20 tournament

nz20hdrThe New Zealand Under 20 coaches have selected a 31-strong squad for the Oceania Under 20 Championship in Australia next month.

The squad features seven players who played in last year’s Junior World Championship in Auckland, seven contracted Investec Super Rugby players and a strong rugby pedigree.  One more player will be added to the squad before the team’s departure to the Gold Coast.

The squad is:

The squad is:
Forwards
Isileli Tu’ungafasi Auckland
Liam Polwart Auckland
Mitchell Karpik Auckland
Blake Gibson Auckland & Blues
Tom Hill Canterbury
Mitchell Dunshea Canterbury
Hamish Dalzell* Canterbury
Joshua Goodhue Canterbury
Geoffrey Cridge Hawke’s Bay & Hurricanes
Ricky Riccitelli Otago
Dillon Hunt Otago
Atunaisa Moli Waikato
Mitchell Jacobson Waikato
Tau Koloamatangi Waikato
James Blackwell Wellington
Teariki Ben-Nicholas Wellington
Leni Apisai* Wellington & Hurricanes
Backs
Mitchell Hunt Auckland
Tinoi (TJ) Faiane Auckland
Vincent Tavae-Aso Auckland & Hurricanes
Jonathan Faauli Canterbury
Jack Goodhue Canterbury
George Bridge Canterbury
Luteru Laulala Canterbury
Otere Black Manawatu & Hurricanes
Tevita Li North Harbour & Blues
Fletcher Smith Otago
Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi Taranaki
Harrison Levien* Waikato
Anton Lienert-Brown Waikato & Chiefs
Wes Goosen Wellington

Note:  One player to be added

* indicates players who would also be available for selection in 2016

Unavailable for tournament selection due to injury
Henry Stowers            Wellington

Unavailable for selection for the Oceania tournament and Junior World Championship due to injury
Morgan Poi                Wellington

Unavailable for tournament selection due to Investec Super Rugby duty
Nathaniel Apa            Crusaders
Akira Ioane                Blues
Damian McKenzie       Chiefs

New Zealand Under 20 Head Coach Scott Robertson said the talent for this squad was very strong.

“Some very good young players have missed out on this selection but it does show how strong the competition for places has been.

“In the end, with so many good players available to us, we have selected on form, and rewarded those who have worked hard over the past several months.

“We’ve got a good number of players who are ITM Cup experienced, including seven who are contracted to Super Rugby teams.  We’re very fortunate that some of those players have been released from their Super Rugby duty for this tournament.

“The Oceania tournament provides much-needed preparation for this squad as we build towards the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Italy in June.

“We’re definitely looking forward to seeing how the boys cope with the tournament environment,” Robertson said.

“The Gold Coast will give us an opportunity to create and test combinations, to imbed game plans and most importantly to have the guys play under the pressures of a tournament format.

“This is a hugely important opportunity for us. We know that some other teams will head to Italy having already benefitted from playing in the Under 20 Six Nations competition,” Robertson said.

The squad assembles at the Bruce Pulman Complex in Auckland 24-28 April before travel to the Gold Coast to play in the Oceania Under 20 Championship against Japan, Samoa and Australia.

The squad for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship will be named in early May.

Oceania Under 20 Championship – Bond University, Gold Coast – Playing schedule:

Friday 1 May
1pm:  New Zealand v Japan
3pm:  Australia v Samoa

Tuesday 5 May
1pm: Samoa v New Zealand
3pm:  Japan v Australia

Saturday 9 May
1pm:  Samoa v Japan
3pm:  Australia v New Zealand


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