Under 19 team for final named

    21 Apr 2007    

The match kicks off at 6.30am (NZ time) and will be televised live on TV3.

Canterbury midfielder Ryan Crotty replaces Waikato’s Jackson Willison at second five-eighths in the only change to the side that took the field in the semifinal against Wales earlier in the week.

Crowley said the final represented a great chapter in the careers of the young New Zealanders.

“This is what we have all worked towards since we started back in December,” Crowley said.

“It is not every day that a player gets the chance to represent his country in the final of a world championship. These players have that opportunity and that is fantastic; they will embrace and enjoy the occasion,” he added.

“They also realise that to progress in the professional era, they will have to handle outside pressure and expectation, but I am sure that they will cope with that.”

New Zealand and South Africa last met in the Under 19 final in 2005.

“In South Africa we face a team that has been one of our country’s greatest rivals at all levels and that is true at Under 19 level as well. We are certainly aware of the different challenges they pose. In terms of physical presence, they are the biggest team we will face in this competition,” Crowley said.

Tasman winger Kade Poki goes into the final as the leading try scorer with five tries, one ahead of Bay of Plenty flanker Luke Braid. Wellington centre Robert Fruean and Hawke’s Bay winger Zac Guildford are both on three tries each.

Meanwhile, North Harbour’s Ken Pisi has joined the New Zealand team in place of injured Hawke’s Bay fullback Israel Dagg. Pisi has been named in the reserves.

New Zealand Under 19 team against South Africa in the final: 15. Trent Renata, 14. Zac Guildford, 13. Robert Fruean, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. Kade Poki, 10. Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9. Wayne Ngaluafe, 8. Nasi Manu, 7. Luke Braid, 6. Peter Saili, 5. Samuel Whitelock, 4. Chris Smith (captain), 3. Ben Afeaki, 2. Ash Dixon, 1. Rodney Ah You

Reserves: 16. Quentin MacDonald, 17. Paea Fa’anunu, 18. Nick Barrett, 19. Thomas Crowley, 20. Josh Townsend, 21. John Hardie, 22. Matt Cameron, 23. Jackson Willison, 24. Winston Stanley, 25. Ken Pisi, 26. Sean Maitland

*Note: Teams can name up to 11 reserves, but are allowed to use only seven replacement players in a match.