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Match-winner Godfrey a key asset for New Zealand U20s ahead of World Championships

By Adam Julian
Harry Godfrey of Hawke's Bay during the Ranfurly Shield and Heartland Championship Pre-Season Match between Hawke's Bay and Poverty Bay at McLean Park on July 30, 2022 in Napier, New Zealand. (Photo by Kerry Marshall/Getty Images)

Harry Godfrey is remarkably self-effacing given how much he has achieved in his age group rugby career.


The 20-year-old has already made eight appearances for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby having won the Sir John Graham Memorial Medal as most valuable player of the Super Rugby U20 competition in March.

Godfrey has been a member of the New Zealand U20s for two years and in their most recent test in Wellington helped the Baby Blacks save face against Australia.

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Following a shock 34-26 defeat in the first test, New Zealand edged the tenacious Aussies 19-18 in the second rubber at Sky Stadium. Fullback Godfrey had a hand in all three New Zealand tries.

“I just delivered one extra pass. Everything was done for me. All I had to do was walk in our skillful wings,” Godfrey told RugbyPass.

“With us putting a score on Aussie last year they wanted to prove something back. It was nice to play at my home stadium.”

The ability to break the game open from either first five, wing, or fullback makes Godfrey an invaluable asset.


He was imperious for New Zealand when they won the Oceania Championship in 2022 defeating Australia by a record score of 69-12. He was unsurprised by Australia’s improvement.

“We only had two weeks together when they had about five. We’re still building,” Godfrey said.

Hunterville is a small community on State Highway 1, in the Rangitikei district of the North Island of New Zealand. It is located halfway between Taupo and Wellington and has a population (2018 census) of 408. Welsh international Hadleigh Parkes is their most famous rugby export.

There is a monument in Hunterville paying tribute to Huntaway dogs, a large, strongly built breed of dog used for general sheep-herding tasks. They have a deep bark and are renowned for their durability and work ethic.

Godfrey grew up on a farm and has inherited some of the traits of the town symbol. A boarder at Whanganui Collegiate he played in the First XV for three years and earned New Zealand Secondary Schools selection in 2020.


He was signed by Hawke’s Bay and in 2022 helped Petone win the Swindale Shield, the first round of the Wellington club rugby competition. He played in six victories and scored 51 points.

“It’s always been my dream to be a rugby player, so I must be disciplined. If there’s a party the night before training, I don’t go or I don’t drink and leave early.

“I’m not too phased where I play at the moment as long as I am on the paddock. I’m enjoying all the learning.”

New Zealand opens their World Rugby U20 Championship campaign against Wales. New Zealand has beaten Wales seven times in nine matches, but Godfrey expects a compelling challenge.

“They enjoy their set piece, scrum, and lineout. It’s a different style of rugby, more kicking, so we’ll have to be ready in that department and balance the way we play,” he said.

“We like to attack from anywhere, even our own 22, but we might have to adapt on the run.”

Ireland won the Under 20 Six Nations Grand Slam while defending World Champions France was second. Hosts South Africa have won 10 matches in a row since 2019. Is the opposition better prepared?

“Our coaches get the film that we have access to, so we have some knowledge of how the opposition plays,” Godfrey said.

“It’s cool how they play together for a while, and we just rock up. It’s different but we back ourselves.”

Godfrey picked the Chiefs to win the Super Rugby final and identified Daniel Carter and Beauden Barrett as his favourite players.

New Zealand’s World Rugby U20 Championship pool fixtures (date/time in NZST):

Wales U20 v New Zealand U20, Monday 26 June at 2.00AM
France U20 v New Zealand U20, Thursday 29 June at 11.30PM
New Zealand U20 v Japan U20, Thursday 6 July at 2.00AM


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1 Comment
Corey 398 days ago

NZ lost to Wales 8-7 in the 2019 U20 WC. Do your research, people at rugbypass.

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