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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.

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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.

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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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Comments

2 Comments
P
Peter 412 days ago

The U20s selectors should try to find Props who can actually scrummage.

J
Jmann 412 days ago

What would be nice would be for the NZRFU to actually spend some time on the U20s programme. It has clearly been an afterthought for the last decade.

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Wonton 2 hours ago
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One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

18 Go to comments
N
Nick 3 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

14 Go to comments
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