Etene Nanai-Seturo selected in U20 World Championship squad
A total of 28 players will travel to Argentina at the end of this month for the tournament, with their sights set on New Zealand’s seventh age grade title.
Kaylum Boshier (Taranaki) – Vice-Captain
George Dyer (Waikato)
Samipeni Finau (Waikato)
Devan Flanders (Hawke's Bay)
Cullen Grace (Canterbury)
Kohan Herbert (Bay of Plenty)
Kianu Kereru Symes (Hawke's Bay) - Captain
Shilo Klein (Canterbury) Jeriah Mua (Bay of Plenty)
Fletcher Newell (Canterbury)
Ollie Norris (Waikato)
Simon Parker (Waikato)
Taine Plumtree (Wellington)
Kaliopasi Uluilakepa (Wellington)
Tupou Vaa’i (Taranaki)
Tamaiti Williams (Canterbury)
Fergus Burke (Canterbury)
Leroy Carter (Bay of Plenty)
Leicester Faingaanuku (Tasman/Crusaders)
Cole Forbes (Bay of Plenty)
Taufa Funaki (Auckland)
Scott Gregory (Northland/All Blacks Sevens)
Lalomilo Lalomilo (Bay of Plenty)
Dallas McLeod (Canterbury) – Vice-Captain
Billy Proctor (Wellington/Hurricanes)
Rivez Reihana (Waikato)
Etene Nanai-Seturo (Counties Manukau/Chiefs)
Quinn Tupaea (Waikato)
Players not considered due to Super Rugby commitments:
Caleb Clarke (Auckland/Blues)
Players not considered due to injury:
Kaleb Trask (Bay of Plenty), Finlay Brewis (Canterbury)
Coach Craig Philpott said he and his coaching team were able to name a strong squad for what is set to be a tough tournament.
“We have a group here that has the potential to be really special. The focus is on us playing our style of game, but we also have to be ready to adapt to opposition as well.
“We are going to be playing teams who are forward oriented, that scrum for penalties; so we need to change the way we think about the game but still maintain that flair that is New Zealand rugby’s point of difference on the world stage.”
The squad features seven players who were involved in last year’s programme, 11 with Mitre 10 Cup experience and 15 who have graduated for the 2018 Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 tournament.
“Seeing that number of players come through the Jock Hobbs tournament just further emphasises how valuable that tournament is for us as an identification tool.”
Leicester Faingaanuku, Etene Nanai Seturo and Billy Proctor have been released from their respective Super Rugby Clubs to join the squad, and Philpott said their inclusion is fantastic.
“Those players will bring a high level of professionalism and game sense from their experience on the Super Rugby stage. They are used to pressure and have an understanding of what it means to perform at the highest level.”
Philpott said the second place finish at the Oceania Championship last week provided a lot of learning.
“The Oceania tournament provides a great opportunity to get together and build our team culture off the field and get familiar with our patterns on field. We have got some great learnings out of that result, in particular how we deal with defensive pressure, because there will be plenty of that at the World Champs.”
The team will assemble in Mount Maunganui later this month before departing to Argentina.