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New Zealand U20 squad named for World Championships in South Africa

By Kim Ekin
Peter Lakai of New Zealand on attack during the match between New Zealand U20 and the Junior Wallabies at NZCIS on May 29, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The New Zealand Under 20 squad has been named ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship later this month.


Head coach Clark Laidlaw and assistant coaches Marty Bourke and Wesley Clarke selected 30 players to head to South Africa, following two close games against the Junior Wallabies last week.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to have such a talented cohort of players to select from, all of which showcased their potential against the Junior Wallabies,” said head coach Clark Laidlaw.

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“We want to congratulate the players selected, in what will be a special day for them and their families who I’m sure will be proud of their achievements. It’s great to have a talented young group heading off to the World Rugby U20 Championships in South Africa.”

Laidlaw also appointed Noah Hotham (Tasman) as captain and Peter Lakai (Wellington) and Taha Kemara (Waikato) as vice-captains of the team.

“Noah, Peter and Taha have showed leadership on the field and in the wider team environment, this is a great development opportunity for them.

“Our attention is now on the first three pool matches against Wales, France and Japan, we know these teams will put up an intense challenge,” said Laidlaw.


New Zealand Under 20 squad:

Ajay Faleafaga (Otago)
Aki Tuivailala (Waikato)
Ben Ake (Auckland)
Bradley Crichton (Wellington)
Caleb Tangitau (Auckland)
Che Clark (Auckland)
Codemeru Vai (Bay of Plenty)
Cooper Flanders (Hawke’s Bay)
Gabe Robinson (Waikato)
Harry Godfrey (Hawke’s Bay)
Hunter Morrison (Hawke’s Bay)
Isaac Hutchinson (Canterbury)
Jack Taylor (Southland)
Jordi Viljoen (Manawatu)
Leo Gordon (Auckland)
Macca Springer (Tasman)
Malachi Wrampling-Alec (Waikato)
Malakai Hala (Manawatu)
Noah Hotham (Tasman) – Captain
Peter Lakai (Wellington) – Vice-captain
Raymond Tuputupu (Manawatu)
Riley Williams (Auckland)
Sam Hainsworth-Fa’aofo (Auckland)
Siale Lauaki (Wellington)
Taha Kemara (Waikato) – Vice-captain
Tahlor Cahill (Canterbury)
Tom Allen (Hawke’s Bay)
Vernon Bason (Manawatu)
Will Stodart (Otago)
Xavi Taele (Auckland)

Unavailable due to injury:
Payton Spencer (Auckland), Fiti Sa (Taranaki), Maliu Niuafe (Auckland), Cody Nordstrom (Waikato), Toby Bell (Canterbury)

New Zealand Under 20 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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