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

By Kim Ekin
Harry Godfrey of the Hurricanes on attack during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between Hurricanes and Moana Pasifika at Sky Stadium, on May 13, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

New Zealand’s exciting prodigy Payton Spencer was injured in the first of two warm-up fixtures against the Junior Wallabies but his replacement starred in New Zealand’s 19-18 win in the second clash.


Recent Hurricanes’ debutant Harry Godfrey took over in the No 15 jersey for New Zealand and starred with three try assists in the first half, giving the home side enough to hold on for a hard-fought win.

Godfrey first found All Blacks Sevens rep Caleb Tangitau with a pinpoint cross-field kick to open the scoring for New Zealand after a tight opening twenty minutes.

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Linking on the end of the New Zealand U20 backline, Godfrey broke the tackle of wing Matias Jensen before perfectly commiting fullback Mason Gordon in a two-man tackle to free up left wing Macca Springer for walk-in try.

An offload from the ground for Tangitau set up his second, with the Blues’ right wing using a wicked right foot step to break the Aussie defence.

Despite not scoring a point in the second half, New Zealand held on for victory to bounce back and avenge Monday’s loss to the Junior Wallabies.

Godfrey’s stellar showing was a boost for the New Zealand U20 who had drafted in Sevens stars Spencer, Cody Vai, Che Clark and Tangitau for some attacking firepower.


The 20-year-old made his Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes a month ago against Moana Pasifika and impressed with his speed and line running.

His experience will be vital as one of eight in the squad with Super Rugby experience along with his club teammates Raymond Tuputupu and Peter Lakai, Jack Taylor of the Highlanders, Noah Hotham, Macca Springer and Taha Kemara at the Crusaders and Caleb Tangitau of the Blues.

The New Zealand U20 have a month to prepare for the World Championships in South Africa which is the first edition of the tournament since 2019, which was one by France.



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