Rising stars named in New Zealand Under 20 Rugby Championship squad

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The Under 20s squad was selected following a comprehensive player identification process across last month’s Super Rugby U20 tournament held in Taupō, and training camps held late last year. 

New Zealand Under 20 Head Coach Jono Gibbes said he was excited by the depth of talent in the squad.

“As a result of having a strong performance pathway established, we are able to assemble an exciting group of talented young men to represent New Zealand at the Rugby Championship Under 20 tournament next month. 

“The tournament will be a great opportunity to test ourselves and gauge where we are, what we need to improve on before we embark on a competitive and tough Rugby World Championship later in the year.”

Gibbes acknowledged the contribution from the wider high performance team for their efforts.

“Our selector network has been doing a huge amount of work in this space over the last six months. It has been a thorough and comprehensive process and one that is credit to their efforts.”

The squad features three players who have played in the Bunnings Warehouse NPC, 18 players who are on National Development contracts, six returnees from last year’s New Zealand Under 20s Rugby World Cup squad, and 21 players who have been a part of the New Zealand Secondary Schools programme. Players from across 10 provincial unions are represented.

New Zealand Under 20 Squad: 

A-One Lolofie (Highlanders, Otago)
Andrew Smith (Chiefs, Waikato)
Ben O’Donovan (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Cameron Christie (Blues, North Harbour)
Cooper Grant (Crusaders, Tasman)
Dylan Pledger (Highlanders, Otago)
Frank Vaenuku (Chiefs, Bay of Plenty)
Giancarlo Tuivailala (Chiefs, Waikato)
Isaac Hutchinson (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Jeremiah Avei-Collins (Hurricanes, Wellington)
Jonathan Lee (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Josh Whaanga (Highlanders, Otago)
Joshua Smith (Hurricanes, Hawke’s Bay)
King Maxwell (Blues, Auckland)
Konradd Newland (Hurricanes, Hawke’s Bay)
Kurene Luamanuvae (Blues, Auckland)
Liam Jack (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Malachi Wrampling-Alec (Chiefs, Waikato)
Manumaua Letiu (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Matt Lowe (Crusaders, Tasman)
Mosese Bason (Hurricanes, Manawatū)
Rico Simpson (Blues, Auckland)
Sam Coles (Hurricanes, Manawatū)
Sika Pole (Blues, Auckland)
Stanley Solomon (Hurricanes, Wellington)
Toby Bell (Crusaders, Canterbury)
Tom Allen (Hurricanes, Hawke’s Bay)
Tristyn Cook (Blues, North Harbour)
Vernon Bason (Hurricanes, Manawatū)
William Martin (Chiefs, Waikato)
Xavi Taele (Blues, Auckland)

Non-Travelling Reserves:
Logan Wallace (Hurricanes, Manawatū)
Nathaniel Pole (Blues, Auckland)
Riley Williams (Blues, Auckland)
Tai Cribb (Chiefs, Waikato)
Tofuka Paongo (Hurricanes, Wellington)

The final squad of 30 for the U20 World Rugby Championship in South Africa will be announced following the Rugby Championship Under 20 tournament.  


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