We’re pleased that eight Blues under-20s players have been named in the New Zealand squad for the upcoming World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Georgia, to be held from 25 May to 18 June.
Those players are Adrian Choat, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Dalton Papalii, Jacob Pierce, John (JP) Sauni, Samuel Slade, Caleb Clarke, and Tamati Tua. They join 21 other players from around the country who will be looking to win the tournament for the sixth time in its history, with NZ’s last victory coming in 2015.
Head coach Craig Philpott commented: “All 32 players we took on the successful Oceania Tournament campaign last week put their hands up for World Championship selection, and all merited the opportunity to wear the black jersey in Georgia. We had to make some tough calls and no doubt there will be some disappointed players.
“The squad has a good base of experience with seven players returning from last year’s Under 20 World Championship in Manchester. However, we also want to learn the lessons from the last World Championship and in particular ensure that we are competitive in the forwards against the big northern hemisphere teams.”
He added: “We also want to play our natural high tempo game and provide our backs plenty of space and opportunity to run. We scored a lot of tries on the Gold Coast, and our focus now is on ensuring we play with both speed and accuracy.”
The New Zealand Under 20 team assembles in Mount Maunganui later this week and travels to Georgia on 24 May. Their pool matches are against Scotland on the 31 May, Italy on 4 June and Ireland on 8 June.
The team is:
Luke Jacobson (C)
John (JP) Sauni
Ereatara Enari (VC)
Players unavailable for selection