New Zealand Rugby Under 20 squad named   28 Apr 2011

 


The New Zealand Under 20 squad for the June IRB Junior World Championship in Italy has been named.

The New Zealand Under 20 squad is:

Forwards

Carl Axtens* Bay of Plenty

Dominic Bird Canterbury

Heiden Bedwell-Curtis Taranaki

Sam Cane*# Bay of Plenty

Michael Kainga Wellington

Steven Luatua* Auckland

Greg Pleasants-Tate North Harbour

Brodie Rettalick Hawke’s Bay

Solomona Sakalia* Wellington

Sefo Setefano Waikato

Brad Shields Wellington

Ben Tameifuna* Hawke’s Bay

Codie Taylor* Canterbury

Luke Whitelock^ Canterbury

Backs

Gareth Anscombe* Auckland

Beauden Barrett Taranaki

Nathan George Waikato

Rhys Llewellyn Canterbury

Waisake Naholo Taranaki

TJ Perenara*# Wellington

Charles Piutau* Auckland

Glen Robertson^ Waikato

Francis Saili* Auckland

Mitchell Scott Tasman

Lima Sopoaga* Wellington

Brad Weber Otago

Note: * denotes member of 2009 New Zealand Schools team

# denotes member of the 2009 New Zealand Under 17 programme

^ denotes member of the 2010 New Zealand Under 20 team

The 26-man squad includes three current Investec Super Rugby players – Highlanders squad member five-eighth Lima Sopoaga, and Chiefs loose forward Sam Cane and Hurricanes fullback Beauden Barrett who have both recently been called into their respective squads from their wider training groups. Barrett has also donned the black jersey for the 2009/2010 New Zealand Sevens team.

Crusaders wider training group member loose forward Luke Whitelock – the younger brother of current Crusaders trio Adam, Sam and George – and Waikato centre Glen Robertson are the only returning members of the 2010 squad. Whitelock has also represented New Zealand at Under 17 and New Zealand Schools levels.

Other players in the squad with top-flight rugby experience include the following 2010 ITM Cup players: Hawke’s Bay prop Ben Tameifuna, Wellington loose forward Brad Shields and halfback TJ Perenara, Auckland winger Charles Piutau, first-five eighth Gareth Anscombe and their provincial union teammate lock Steven Luatua.

New Zealand Under 20 Coach Mark Anscombe said: “Once again, the selection process was thorough. We are really fortunate to have good depth in New Zealand rugby in all areas. One of the biggest challenges for us was to get the balance right throughout the team as the format of the competition is such that we play five games in 17 days. It is also vital that we have versatile players that allow us to spread the workload throughout the team.

“As in previous years, we had an initial group of 47 players vying for 26 spots. A feature of the team is that we have three players with experience in Super Rugby environments and a number of players who have played in the ITM Cup. There is no doubt that the team will benefit from their experience.

“While we acknowledge our previous success at this tournament, this is a new team with only two members of the 2010 year returning. The challenge for us is to continue to perform on the international stage and showcase New Zealand’s growing talent.

“With any new group there are always challenges facing the team but we are very excited about the tournament,” Anscombe said.

Some of New Zealand’s top resource coaches have been involved with the wider squad at three camps held over the past five months.

They include specialist scrum coaches Mike Cron and former Highlander and Blues prop Nick White, former All Blacks winger Jeff Wilson, Wellington Lions coach Andre Bell, former Canterbury assistant coach John Haggart, former Crusaders hooker Matt Sexton, former New Zealand age grade coach Russell Hilton-Jones, current Counties Manukau coach Milton Haig, current Waikato coach Chris Gibbes, 2008/2009 New Zealand Under 20 skills coach Andrew Strawbridge and former All Black Scott Robertson.

New Zealand has won the last three IRB Junior World Championships in Wales, Japan and Argentina respectively.

The squad will remain in camp at the Sport and Rugby Institute in Palmerston North until Sunday 1 May and will re-assemble at the Millennium Institute in North Harbour from 31 May – 4 June.

Key dates:

· Pre-departure camp: Tuesday 31 May – Saturday 4 June, North Harbour

· Squad departs: Auckland for Italy on Saturday 4 June

· IRB World Junior Championship: Friday 10 June – Sunday 26 June, Italy

New Zealand pool games at IRB Junior World Championship (all times and dates are local):

v Italy 10 June, 8.10pm

v Wales 14 June, 6.10pm

v Argentina 18 June, 6.10pm

Tournament Finals

Semifinals 22 June

Final 26 June

Note to media: Coach Mark Anscombe will be available for interview in Palmerston North or via phone from 5pm today. Please contact Kate Hutchison to arrange a time.

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