Injuries force changes ahead of Schools matches

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The New Zealand Schools team come up against Australia Schools & Under 18, a fixture that was first played in 1978. The New Zealand Barbarian Schools team face Fiji Schools, it will be the fourth time these teams meet.



Injuries from Monday have forced changes to both teams, with new players being given the opportunity to play international rugby.



The New Zealand Schools team has an unchanged forward pack, a testament to their efforts in the teams' win against Fiji Schools earlier in the week.


In the backline, injuries to Jacob Kneepkens and Wil Gualter have forced a reshuffle which sees Blair Murray and Roderick Solo promoted from the bench. Michael Manson, who was a stand out on the wing for the New Zealand Barbarian Schools on Monday, has been called in and will have an opportunity off the bench.


Mark Hammett said it was hard to lose players from the team but he is confident the players stepping up will take their opportunity.


“Having a quick turnaround between games means there is not a lot of time for adjustment. We have been looking at detail in our game and where there is room for improvement which is things like running lines and our height on attack and defence,” said Hammett.


Work on analysis and preparation has been a key part of the Schools programme and Hammett said the players have embraced the chance to learn.


“A lot of what we are doing is around learning and growing these players. They have been having sessions on analysis and one on ones with coaches which gears them up to perform tomorrow but to also be better players in the future,” said Hammett.


Click here to see the New Zealand Schools team.


The New Zealand Barbarians Schools have also been forced to make changes ahead of their clash against Fiji.


Jermaine Pepe (Rangiora High School), Carlos Karaitiana (Rotorua Boys’ High School) and Jayden Walker (Napier Boys’ High School) have all been brought into the team, replacing Michael Manson (playing in NZ Schools), Taya Brown (illness) and Alfred Nonu (injury).


“We’ve had to be a bit flexible this week, but I have been proud with how the team has progressed. We did a quick review on our first match and then turned our attention to Fiji.


“We had less than 40 percent possession on Monday which makes it pretty hard to win a game. That will be important tomorrow because with this Fiji team, if you allow them to express themselves it will make it a tough day at the office. But we saw the Schools team starve them of ball, if we can do that it gives us a real chance,” said Leger.


Click here to see the New Zealand Barbarians Schools team.



Match schedule (all matches live on SKY Sports)
Friday 4 October
New Zealand Barbarian Schools v Fiji Schools, 1.10pm at St Pauls Collegiate
New Zealand Schools v Australia, 3pm at St Pauls Collegiate


Previous results
New Zealand Barbarians Schools 17 (Michael Manson 2, Tepaea Cook-Savage tries, Latrell Smiler-Ah Kiong 1 con)
Australia Under18 30


New Zealand Schools 43 (Gideon Wrampling 3, Cam Church 2, Blair Murray 2 tries, Aidan Morgan 4 con)
Fiji Schools 8


View all