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New Zealand side named for opening U20 Championship match

New Zealand Under 20 coach Craig Philpott has named the team set to face Tonga in the opening match of the 2018 Under 20 Oceania Championship on the Gold Coast.

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Philpott said the team has been preparing well this week and are looking forward to getting on the field.

“We are still very much in selection mode if we’re looking at the World Champs. We’ve got 29 players over here and we want all of them to get game time.

Tom Christie, returning from the 2017 campaign, will captain the side, with Harry Plummer vice-captain.

Philpott said while they don’t know too much about their opposition teams at the Oceania Championship, they are expecting tough battles.

“First up we have Tonga and we have come to expect they will have a physical team that looks to play an expansive style of rugby.

“Our challenge will be keeping to our structures and systems, if we can implement our game plans and everyone gets a chance to stretch their legs we’ll be happy,” said Philpott.

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The opening match against Tonga kicks off at 7pm Friday night (NZT), and will be followed by the fixture between Fiji and Australia at 9pm.

NEW ZEALAND UNDER 20

1. Rob Cobb, 2. Ricky Jackson, 3. Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, 4. Laghlan McWhannell, 5. John Akau’ola-Laula, 6. Tom Florence, 7. Tom Christie (C), 8. Devan Flanders, 9. Carlos Price, 10. Harry Plummer, 11. Leicester Faingaanuku, 12. Tanielu Tele’a, 13. Billy Proctor, 14. Bailyn Sullivan, 15. Kaleb Trask.
Reserves: 16. Flynn Thomas, 17. Sione Asi, 18. Tevita Mafileo, 19. Waimana Riedlinger-Kapea, 20. William Tremain, 21. Hoskins Sotutu, 22. Xavier Roe, 23. Ciarahn Matoe.

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