New Zealand Under 21 squad named     15 May 2007

The team to play Canada in an international in Rotorua next month will be selected from this group.

Several members of the squad have represented the country at age grade level before, including Wellington’s Victor Vito and Otago’s George Whitelock, who are both former New Zealand Under 19 captains.

Three Rebel Sport Super 14 players – Tim Bateman (Crusaders), Lelia Masaga (Chiefs) and George Pisi (Blues) – have also been included.

Cooper said the progress of these young players through to the next level of international competition was a credit to New Zealand rugby’s development programme.

“These players have come through the age grade ranks and it is fantastic to see them advance to the next level,” Cooper said.

“There is no international Under 21 competition this year due to the IRB’s restructure of the age grade tournaments, but this offers us the opportunity to give our young players valuable one-on-one skills coaching at the development camp next month,” Cooper said.

The development camp in Auckland will be held from 13 June and the squad will prepare for the match against Canada in Rotorua from 17 June. The international at Rotorua International Stadium is on Thursday 21 June and will be televised live on the Rugby Channel from 7.05pm.

New Zealand Under 21 squad: David Bason (Waikato), Tim Bateman (Canterbury), Josh Bekhuis (Southland), Daniel Bowden (Northland), James Broadhurst (Canterbury), Tom Chamberlain (North Harbour), Dane Coles (Wellington), Nick Crosswell (Manawatu), Charlie Faumuina (Auckland), Owen Franks (Canterbury), Brenton Helleur (Auckland), Vern Kamo (Waikato), Sekope Kepu (Counties Manukau), Faifili Levave (Wellington), Chris Lowrey (Auckland), Lelia Masaga (Counties Manukau), Lachie Munro (Auckland), James Paterson (Canterbury), George Pisi (North Harbour), Male Sa'u (Counties Manukau), Colin Slade (Canterbury), Ben Smith (Otago), Victor Vito (Wellington), George Whitelock (Otago)