New Zealand Under 20s named for final match against Georgia

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The match is a play off for seventh place at the 2023 tournament.

The team is;
1. Ben Ake (Auckland)
2. Jack Taylor (Southland)
3. Siale Lauaki (Wellington)
4. Tahlor Cahill (Canterbury)
5. Hunter Morrison (Hawke’s Bay)
6. Will Stodart (Otago)
7. Cooper Flanders (Hawke’s Bay)
8. Peter Lakai (Wellington) – vice captain
9. Noah Hotham (Tasman) - Captain
10. Taha Kemara (Waikato) – vice captain
11. Macca Springer (Tasman)
12. Ajay Faleafaga 
13. Aki Tuivailala (Waikato)
14. Caleb Tangitau (Auckland)
15. Harry Godfrey (Hawke’s Bay)

16. Raymond Tuputupu (Manawatū) 
17. Hunter Fahey (Southland)
18. Malakai Hala (Manawatū)
19. Malachi Wrampling-Alec (Waikato)
20. Che Clark (Auckland)
21. Jordi Viljoen (Manawatū)
22. Xavi Taele (Auckland)
23. Code Vai (Bay of Plenty)

Unavailable: Gabe Robinson (injury), Tom Allen (suspension)

Coach Clark Laidlaw said the team was disappointed to have lost to Australia, playing the majority of the match with 14 men, and two 10-minute spells with 13.

“Some of our attack was the best it’s been but ultimately we let them back in the game – it was a really tough loss.”

Laidlaw said the match against Georgia presents a different challenge.

“Georgia is a hugely physical team so we are well aware of the challenge up front and that we will need to negate their forward play.

“Ultimately we have a chance to play again and try to put together all the parts of our game that have been good in patches but no where near consistent enough, so that’s our challenge as a group,” said Laidlaw.

Ben Ake returns to the starting XV and joins Jack Taylor and Siale Lauaki in the front row, with Tahlor Cahill and Hunter Morrsion the locking pair. Will Stodart moves to the flanks with Cooper Flanders and Peter Lakai at number 8.

The only change to the backline sees Ajay Faleafaga start at second five-eighths, partnering with Aki Tuivailala in the midfield.

New Zealand Under 20 v Georgia Under 20
Friday 14 July, kick off 5pm
Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch, South Africa


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