Blues players Sam Nock (2016) and Jordan Trainor (2016) have been selected for the NZ Under 20 team to compete in the Under 20 World Championship in Manchester this coming June.
Dalton Papali’i (Auckland and Blues U20/A) and Hapakuki Moala-Liava’a (North Harbour and Blues U20s) have also been selected.
While the players were notified prior to the team naming, there was still a strong sense of excitement for Nock and Trainor.
“Because of our age, the coaches decided to prepare us for Under-20s as our main goal,” said Nock.
“It’s always been my goal while at school to make the team,” said Nock. “When we (Nock and Trainor) came in to the Blues, because of our age, the coaches decided to prepare us for Under 20s as our main goal.”
“If you can perform well in Under 20s, you can usually perform at a higher level as well.”
Coach Scott Robertson said the Super Rugby players would be bringing in some strong professionalism and experience in to the team.
“We’ve got six players from Super Rugby teams, two guys returning from last year’s team, and we have nine players young enough to be eligible to play again next year,” said Robertson. “It’s a good balance – a little bit of experience, youth and exuberance from the young fellas, and the professionalism from the Super players.”
The New Zealand Under 20 squad assembles in Mt Maunganui on 27 May ahead of a game against the Chiefs Development side on Monday 30 May.
THE FULL TEAM IS:
Ayden Johnstone Waikato
Shaun Stodart Otago
Sean Paranihi Canterbury
Alex Fidow Wellington
Sosefo Kautai Waikato
Leni Apisai, captain Wellington/Hurricanes
Asafo Aumua Wellington
Quinten Strange Tasman
Hamish Dalzell Canterbury
Lock /Loose Forward
Isaia Walker-Leawere Wellington
Fin Hoeata Taranaki
Mitchell Jacobson Waikato
Luke Jacobson Waikato
Dalton Papali’i Auckland
Marino Mikaele Tu’u Hawke’s Bay
Hapakuki Moala-Liava’a North Harbour
Jonathan Taumateine Counties Manukau
Sam Nock Northland/Blues
Stephen Perofeta Taranaki
TJ Va’a Wellington/Hurricanes
Orbyn Leger Counties Manukau
Jordie Barrett Canterbury
Patelesio Tomkinson Otago/Highlanders
Jonah Lowe Hawke’s Bay
Malo Tuitama Wellington
Caleb Makene Canterbury
Shaun Stevenson Waikato/Chiefs
Jordan Trainor Waikato/Blues
World Rugby Under 20 Championship
New Zealand Under 20 match schedule (local times)
Pool A Matches
Tuesday 7 June
New Zealand v Georgia
AJ Bel Stadium, Salford
Saturday 11 June
New Zealand v Ireland
Manchester City Academy Stadium, Manchester
Wednesday 15 June
New Zealand v Wales
AJ Bel Stadium, Salford
Semifinal playoffs will be played on 20 June ahead of the 25 June Final.