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Blues romp to Super Rugby U20s title

By Ian Cameron
TAUPO, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 19: Caleb Tangitau of the Blues during the U20 Super Rugby match between Blues and Fijian Drua at Owen Delany Park on March 19, 2023 in Taupo, New Zealand. (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images for NZR)

The Blues have emerged victorious in the Bunnings Warehouse Super Rugby U20s Championship, securing a 50-36 win over the Hurricanes in a thrilling final held at Owen Delany Park in Taupo on Saturday. The Blues, coached by Steven Bates, showcased their superiority over three match days by scoring 50 or more points in all three of their matches against the Fijian Drua (51-7), the New Zealand Barbarians (51-26), and the Hurricanes in the final.


Recent All Blacks Sevens star and outside back Caleb Tangitau played a crucial role in the Blues’ victory, scoring two tries in the final. Hooker Valentino Taito also grabbed a brace, while first five Byron Smith scored 20 points with a try, six conversions, and a penalty. The Hurricanes also displayed a great game, with lock Hunter Morrison scoring two tries in the final and first-five Harry Godfrey being awarded the Sir John Graham Player of the Tournament award.

The scoreline belies the competitiveness of the final match, which remained in the balance until the late stages of the second half. However, Blues openside Sam Hainsworth-Fa’aofo scored off the back of a scrum in the 74th minute to put the match beyond the reach of the Hurricanes.

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The Bunnings Warehouse Super Rugby U20s Championship brought together New Zealand’s five Super Rugby club U20s squads, along with the New Zealand Barbarians, Moana Pasifika, and the Fijian Drua, and marked a week of both on and off-field development for the eight competing teams. According to New Zealand Rugby High Performance Player Development Manager Matt Sexton, the third edition of the annual tournament raised the bar on and off the field, providing valuable growth and development opportunities for the players, coaches, referees, and management teams.

Sexton added that the tournament provided an opportunity for players to learn from members of the current All Blacks coaching team, as well as current and former professional players. The Bunnings Warehouse Super Rugby U20s Championship showcased the emergence of great talent from New Zealand and across the Pacific region, and Sexton believes that many of these young men will go on to higher honors in the coming seasons.

2023 Bunnings Warehouse Super Rugby U20 Results:
Location: Owen Delany Park, Taup?

Pool 1: Blues, Crusaders, Fijian Drua, New Zealand Barbarians Under 21
Pool 2: Chiefs, Highlanders, Hurricanes, Moana Pasifika


Match Day 1 | Sunday 19 March
11.05am Fijian Drua 7 v Blues 51
12.55pm Hurricanes 64 v Moana Pasifika 19
2.45pm Crusaders 27 v New Zealand Barbarians 35
4.35pm Highlanders 28 v Chiefs 18

Match Day 2 | Wednesday 22 March
11.05am Fijian Drua 22 v Crusaders 50
12.55pm Moana Pasifika 20 v Chiefs 52
2.45pm Semi-Final 1: Blues 51 v NZ Barbarians 26
4.35pm Semi-Final 2: Hurricanes 36 v Highlanders 26

Match Day 3 | Saturday 25 March
11.05am 7th/8th Play-off – Fijian Drua 33 v Moana Pasifika 26
12.55pm 5th/6th Play-off – Crusaders 29 v Chiefs 31
2.45pm 3rd/4th Play-off – NZ Barbarians 22 v Highlanders 41
4.35pm Super Rugby Under 20

Final – Blues 50 v Hurricanes 36


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TRENDING Young Hurricanes fullback who replaced Payton Spencer stars for New Zealand U20 Young Hurricanes fullback stars for New Zealand U20