New Zealand Under 20 coach Craig Philpott has named the team set to face Tonga in the opening match of the 2018 Under 20 Oceania Championship on the Gold Coast tonight (kick off 7pm NZT).
The team is:
1. Robert Cobb - Auckland
2. Ricky Jackson - Otago
3. Kaliopasi Uluilakepa - Wellington
4. Laghlan McWhannell - Waikato
5. John Akau'ola-Laula - Auckland
6. Tom Florence - Taranaki
7. Tom Christie - captain - Canterbury
8. Devan Flanders - Hawke's Bay
9. Carlos Price - Wellington
10. Harry Plummer - Auckland
11. Leicester Faingaanuku - Tasman
12. Tanielu Tele'a - Auckland
13. Billy Proctor - Wellington
14. Bailyn Sullivan - Waikato
15. Kaleb Trask - Bay of Plenty
16. Flynn Thomas - Southland
17. Sione Asi - Manawatu
18. Tevita Mafileo - Bay of Plenty
19. Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa - Auckland
20. William Tremain - Hawke's Bay
21. Hoskins Sotutu - Auckland
22. Xavier Roe - Waikato
23. Ciarahn Matoe - Taranaki
Philpott said the team has been preparing well this week and are looking forward to getting on the field tomorrow.
“We are still very much in selection mode if we’re looking at the World Champs. We’ve got 29 players over here and we want all of them to get game time.
Tom Christie, returning from the 2017 campaign, will captain the side, with Harry Plummer vice-captain.
Philpott said while they don’t know too much about their opposition teams at the Oceania Championship, they are expecting tough battles.
“First up we have Tonga and we have come to expect they will have a physical team that looks to play an expansive style of rugby.
“Our challenge will be keeping to our structures and systems, if we can implement our game plans and everyone gets a chance to stretch their legs we’ll be happy,” said Philpott.
Schedule for Oceania Under 20 Championship:
Friday 27 April v Tonga, 7.00pm NZT
Tuesday 1 May v Fiji, 5.00pm NZT
Saturday 5 May v Australia, 9.00pm NZT
Watch the Oceania Under 20 Championship
All games will be live streamed on http://www.rugby.com.au/and the Oceania Rugby facebook page.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand