New Zealand Under 21 team named to play Italy     09 Jun 2006    

The team for the Championship opener includes five players in the starting line-up who were involved in last year’s tournament in Argentina. They are Auckland’s Taniela Moa, Canterbury duo Stephen Brett and Mikaele Tuu’u and Wellington pair Serge Lilo and Miah Nikora.

Reserves Aaron Bancroft and Kieran Read of Canterbury, North Harbour’s Michael Reid and Wellington’s Jeremy Thrush were also members of the 2005 team.

Canterbury lock Michael Paterson will captain the team.

New Zealand Under 21 coach Greg Cooper said the team had a satisfactory build up to the World Championship.

“We had a good hit out against the New Zealand Barbarians before we left and we have had an extended period together during which time we were able to work on our game plan and combinations,” Cooper said.

New Zealand Under 21 team to play Italy: 1 Arden David-Perrot (Wellington), 2 Matt Holloway (Canterbury), 3 Matthew Wallis (Bay of Plenty), 4 Michael Paterson (Canterbury, captain), 5 Ryan Wilson (North Harbour), 6 Solomon King (Bay of Plenty), 7 Serge Lilo (Wellington), 8 Mikaele Tuu’u (Canterbury), 9 Taniela Moa (Auckland), 10 Miah Nikora (Wellington), 11 Lelia Masaga (Counties Manukau), 12 Stephen Brett (Canterbury), 13 Robbie Flynn (Tasman), 14 Jared Payne (Waikato), 15 Lance MacDonald (Bay of Plenty).

Reserves: 16 Hikawera Elliot (Hawke’s Bay), 17 Michael Reid (North Harbour), 18 Jeremy Thrush (Wellington), 19 Kieran Read (Canterbury), 20 Alby Mathewson (Wellington), 21 Aaron Bancroft (Canterbury), 22 George Pisi (North Harbour)

TV3 will broadcast highlights of the match on Sunday 11 June at 4.30pm.