New Zealand Under 20 named for Japan clash
The New Zealand Under 20 team has been named ahead of their final World Rugby U20 Championship pool match against Japan Under 20. The match kicks off on Tuesday 4 July, at 4.00PM SAT (2.00AM Wednesday 5 July NZST) at Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch.
The matchday 23 is as follows (player province):
1. Malakai Hala (Manawatū)
2. Jack Taylor (Southland)
3. Gabe Robinson (Waikato)
4. Tahlor Cahill (Canterbury)
5. Hunter Morrison (Hawke's Bay)
6. Will Stodart (Otago)
7. Sam Hainsworth-Fa’aofo (Auckland)
8. Malachi Wrampling-Alec (Waikato)
9. Noah Hotham – Captain (Tasman)
10. Taha Kemara – Vice Captain (Waikato)
11. Macca Springer (Tasman)
12. Ajay Faleafaga (Otago)
13. Xavi Taele (Auckland)
14. Isaac Hutchinson (Canterbury)
15. Harry Godfrey (Hawke’s Bay)
16. Vernon Bason (Manawatū)
17. Ben Ake (Auckland)
18. Siale Lauaki (Wellington)
19. Tom Allen (Hawke's Bay)
20. Cooper Flanders (Hawke's Bay)
21. Riley Williams (Auckland)
22. Leo Gordon (Auckland)
23. Code Vai (Bay of Plenty)
New Zealand Under 20 Head Coach Clark Laidlaw has named his 23 to challenge Japan Under 20, with several changes for the final pool match in the World Rugby Under 20 Championship.
Props Malakai Hala and Gabe Robinson are promoted to the starting pack either side of Jack Taylor at hooker. Tahlor Cahill is joined by Hunter Morrison in the second row, with Malachi Wrampling-Alec, Sam Hainsworth Fa'aofo and Will Stodart in the loose forward trio.
In the backs, Noah Hotham (Captain) and Taha Kemara (Vice Captain) will take the field at nine and ten, with a new-look midfield pairing of Ajay Faleafaga and Xavi Taele. The back three is made up of Macca Springer on the left wing, Isaac Hutchinson on the right wing and Harry Godfrey at full back.
New Zealand Under 20 Coach Clark Laidlaw said while some changes are injury inforced others are to give players an opportunity on the field.
"It's another opportunity to grow and develop this team. We are expecting a different challenge against Japan, it will be a fast paced, open game so we need to build pressure to execute our game plan. The men have been applying themselves well and are looking forward to another exciting challenge."
The New Zealand Under 20 team beat Wales and lost to France in their first two pool matches. Play off matches will begin next week with the top four teams after pool play making the semi-finals.
The New Zealand Under 20 matches will be broadcast live and exclusive on Sky Sport.