New Zealand Under 20 trial squad comes together     27 Mar 2009    

The trial camp for 46 players will be held at the Sport and Rugby Institute from 1 - 3 April with a trial match at the Institute on Thursday 2 April at 1.00pm.

The 26-man squad for the IRB Junior World Championship, which will be held in Japan, will be named by NZRU President Andy Leslie at the conclusion of the camp on Friday. The tournament squad will remain in camp until Monday April 6.

New Zealand were crowned inaugural champions at the first Junior World Championships held in Wales last year. The Junior World Championships replaced the previous IRB Under 19 and Under 21 World Championship tournaments.

New Zealand Under 20 Coach Dave Rennie said next week’s camp provided a last opportunity for players to press their claims for selection, while also acting as an important development opportunity as each player would be exposed to specialist coaching from some of the NZRU’s leading resource coaches.

Rennie and assistant coach Mark Anscombe will be joined by 2008 New Zealand Under 20 co-coach Russell Hilton-Jones, former Hurricanes assistant and New Zealand Under 19 coach Aussie McLean, specialist scrum coach Mike Cron, North Harbour assistant coach Jeff Wilson, Canterbury Academy manager Matt Sexton, Hawke’s Bay assistant coach Tom Coventry, Wellington Assistant coach Andre Bell, and Manawatu assistant coach Bruce Hemara.

Said Rennie: “We have had a programme in place since last year and it has proved invaluable, particularly as nearly all of last year’s squad are ineligible based on age for this year’s tournament.”

New Zealand has a policy of choosing only 19-year-old players (as at January 1 of the year) as part of the High Performance Plan which allows more players to be part of the Under 20 development programme and be exposed to a World Championship experience.

“While we are still considering one or two eligible players who are currently in the Rebel Sport Super 14 squads, the remaining spots will be selected from this trial so there is a real opportunity for these players to stake a claim,” he said.

New Zealand Under 20 trial squad:

Trent Boswell-Wakefield (Hawke’s Bay), Richard Buckman (Hawke’s Bay), Jason Church (Waikato), Hamish Cochrane (Tasman), Sam Crompton (Otago), Aaron Cruden (Manawatu), Elliot Dixon (Canterbury), Shahn Eru (Wellington), Daniel Faleafa (Auckland), Ma’afu Fia (Manawatu), Brook Gilmore (Northland), Travis Hadley (North Harbour), Bernie Hall (Canterbury), TJ Ioane (Wellington), Willie Ioane (Manawatu), Murray Iti (Waikato), Pat Leafa (Auckland), Fa’atiga Lemalu (Auckland), Jono Malo (Waikato), Rick McKenna (Taranaki), Brayden Mitchell (Southland), Jason Morgan (Canterbury), Tim Nanai-Wiliams (Counties Manukau), Brendon O’Connor (Canterbury), Kylem O’Donnell (Taranaki), Isaac Paewai (Hawke’s Bay), Ken Pisi (North Harbour), Leighton Price (Hawke’s Bay), Codey Rei (Taranaki), Robbie Robinson (Southland), Alex Ryan (Southland), Mason Rosvall (Canterbury), Nick Seymour (Waikato), Teddy Stanaway (Auckland), Latu Talakai (Waikato), Shae Tamati (Hawke’s Bay), Tom Taylor (Canterbury), David Thompson (Otago), Shaun Treeby (Wellington), Junior Tua’au (Auckland), Ahsee Tuala (Counties Manukau), Gauefa Tuigamala (North Harbour), Nafi Tuitavake (North Harbour), Maama Vaipulu (Counties Manukau), William Whetton (North Harbour), Frae Wilson (Wellington).

Key dates:

• Trial camp: Wednesday 1 – Friday 3 April – Palmerston North
• Trial match: Thursday 2 April at 1.00pm at Sport and Rugby Institute
• Squad announcement: Friday 3 April
• Squad camp: Friday 3 – Monday 6 April
• Squad camp: Saturday 25 April – Wednesday 29 April, Palmerston North
• Pre-tournament camp: Tuesday 26 May – Friday 29 May, Auckland
• Squad departs: Auckland for Tokyo on Saturday 30 May
• IRB World Junior Championship: Friday 5 June – Sunday 21 June, Japan