Under 20 hopefuls in final push for World Cup squad selection

 Preparation for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship kicks into action in Palmerston North this week with 46 players selected for the first trial camp of the year.

The camp begins on Thursday with a tight five clinic led by All Blacks scrum guru Mike Cron, before all players assemble for a five-day programme. Two trial teams will be selected to play Hurricanes Development and a Wellington XV on Saturday 10 March.

Players selected to attend the trial camp are:

John Akau'ola-Laula    Auckland
Sione Asi    Manawatu
Suetena Asomua    Counties Manukau
Tom Christie    Canterbury
Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta    Tasman
Rob Cobb    Auckland
Devan Flanders    Hawkes Bay
Tom Florence    Taranaki
Brayden Iose    Manawatu
Ricky Jackson    Otago
Joe Johnson    Bay of Plenty
Josh Kaho    Waikato
Tevita Mafileo    Bay of Plenty
Slade McDowall    Otago
Sam Moli    Tasman
Jeriah Mua    Bay of Plenty
Xavier Numia    Wellington
Taine Plumtree    Wellington
Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa    Auckland
Matene Ruawai    Manawatu
Ben Sa'u    Auckland
Bradley Slater    Taranaki
Flynn Thomas    Southland
Will Tucker    Canterbury
Kaliopasi Uluilakepa    Wellington
Tupou Vaa'i    Taranaki
Stan van den Hoven    Bay of Plenty
Leicester Faingaanuku    Tasman
Scott Gregory    Northland
Jack Grooby    Tasman
Ciarahn Matoe    Taranaki
Raymond Nu'u    Canterbury
Rupena Parkinson    Tasman
Harry Plummer    Auckland
Rameka Poihipi    Canterbury
Carlos Price    Wellington
Billy Proctor    Wellington
Ngane Punivai    Canterbury
Jay Renton    Southland
Xavier Roe    Waikato
Jamie Spowart    Tasman
Bailyn Sullivan    Waikato
Tanielu Tele'a    Auckland
Kaleb Trask    Bay of Plenty
Ueta Tufuga    Manawatu
Quinn Tupaea    Waikato
Not Considered due to Super Rugby or Sevens commitments
Caleb Clarke    Blues
Will Jordan    Crusaders
Vilimoni Koroi    All Blacks Sevens
Not considered due to injury
Jacob Devery    Hawke's Bay
Tim Farrell    Hawke's Bay
Laghlan McWhannell    Waikato
Ajay Mua    Bay of Plenty
Hoskins Sotutu    Auckland
Cameron Suafoa    Auckland
Sione Talitui    Auckland
Sheldon Tovio    Waikato
Will Tremain    Hawke's Bay

New Zealand Under 20 Head Coach Craig Philpott has taken a fulltime role with New Zealand Rugby in 2018 which expands his appointment beyond just the World Championship campaign. 

Philpott said this camp is an important component in building the squad.

“We had these players in camp in December for some testing and to set expectations and goals. This week we get to see how they have progressed over the summer months and really start building towards June."

The squad features several players who had been involved in the 2017 wider squad, while six players have been recognised for their performances in the New Zealand Schools’ campaign late last year.

A further camp for the New Zealand Under 20 squad will be held in April, before taking part in the Oceania Tournament on the Gold Coast in April and May. A squad of 28 will be selected to go to the Under 20 World Championship in France from 25 May – 18 June 2017.

The New Zealand Under 20 team have won six of the ten World Rugby Under 20 Championships, most recently beating England in the 2017 final 64-17. From the 2017 team, Asafo Aumua has gone on to debut for the All Blacks against the Barbarians in November while Caleb Clarke has played two tournaments for the All Blacks Sevens at the beginning of this year. 

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