New Zealand under 20



  • With the junior rwc only a couple of months away I was wondering when the squads get named and who is likely to be the standout players
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  • Normally isn't announced till some time around May, I think.
    When I get home I might post up a possible team if I remember



  • I assume the team will be selected from the players in this article:
     
    Search begins for 2016’s NZ Under 20
     
    The article says there will be camps in March and April, and that the team will play in an Oceania tournament in Australia, before the JWC in Manchester.



  • I'm led to understand teams are named on Thursdays.



  • I assume the team will be selected from the players in this article:
     
    Search begins for 2016’s NZ Under 20
     
    The article says there will be camps in March and April, and that the team will play in an Oceania tournament in Australia, before the JWC in Manchester.

    Only four from Auckland out of the 50 attending and 14 who couldn't make it? Wow.



  • Only four from Auckland out of the 50 attending and 14 who couldn't make it? Wow.

    Canty and Waikato were the dominant U19 teams but Auckland seems really under-represented.  Let's wait until the squads for March/April are named to get a better idea of the spread of talent.  Isaia Walker-Leawere (Poverty Bay) stands out for me as he isn't from a major province - yet.



  • Isaia Walker-Leawere (Poverty Bay) stands out for me as he isn't from a major province - yet.

    You are partially right Bovidae. He can no longer be classified as a representative of Poverty Bay so that bit is not correct. He has signed for Wellington but, in all reality, they do not qualify to be included be classified as a major province given their feeble performances over the last two seasons Thus the second bit is quite correct!!!!!
     



  • You are partially right Bovidae. He can no longer be classified as a representative of Poverty Bay so that bit is not correct. He has signed for Wellington but, in all reality, they do not qualify to be included be classified as a major province given their feeble performances over the last two seasons Thus the second bit is quite correct!!!!!
     

    Bit off topic, but responding to that article: do players from outside Wellington, who are allocated to Wellington clubs, actually ever play for those clubs? I vaguely remember reading somewhere that WTG players from the Bay usually play for their club back home, not their allocated Wellington club.



  • Pretty sure all players holding a HBRFU contract have a clause in it that says they must play there club rugby up in the Bay. Having said that Zac Guildford did turn out a couple of times for a team in Chch and think Richard Buckman also donned the colours of a Dunedin team at some stage.
     
    My club down here has had a HB player allocated to it these last two seasons and we have seen neither hide nor hare of him in all that time. Prior to that we also had a guy that played his ITM Cup for Tasman with the same result. It's fair enough I suppose considering that the HBRFU are paying a reasonable whack of their yearly income so naturally they want to see their clubs get the benefit from it. 
     
    I think the trick is to apply for the allocation of a player that is unlikely to make the Hurricanes starting 23 or even the "turn up in case of a late warm up injury" player that is from a province that is too far and costly to travel away to club fixtures.
     
    Some clubs get allocated players that are always going to be in the matchday 23 and right from the start were never going to play any club games which is a shame for them. One would hope that these players might sometimes front up on a Saturday morning so the kids from that club can see him  watching their games at 9.00am and shake their hands when presenting the Player of the Day ribbons- an excellent PR exercise  - but I doubt that it would happen too much.
     
    However getting back to your original question there are occasional appearances by squad members but not that often. Willis Halaholo turned out a couple of times for Poneke last season but that is the exception rather than the rule. Ditto Iopo Iopu Aso for Ories (but he was almost permanently injured) and maybe Vince Aso might have turned out for Petone once or twice as well. Think Ben May might also have fronted up for OBU against my Club at one time but if he did you would never have picked him to be a Super player if you did not know before hand.  Speaking of Ben May I see he fronted in the hiding handed out by the Western Force on Wednesday. Not sure why as don't think he holds a Super Contract of any kind and cannot recall him fronting for the Wellington Lions last season either.



  • Pretty sure all players holding a HBRFU contract have a clause in it that says they must play there club rugby up in the Bay. Having said that Zac Guildford did turn out a couple of times for a team in Chch and think Richard Buckman also donned the colours of a Dunedin team at some stage.
     
    My club down here has had a HB player allocated to it these last two seasons and we have seen neither hide nor hare of him in all that time. Prior to that we also had a guy that played his ITM Cup for Tasman with the same result. It's fair enough I suppose considering that the HBRFU are paying a reasonable whack of their yearly income so naturally they want to see their clubs get the benefit from it. 
     
    I think the trick is to apply for the allocation of a player that is unlikely to make the Hurricanes starting 23 or even the "turn up in case of a late warm up injury" player that is from a province that is too far and costly to travel away to club fixtures.
     
    Some clubs get allocated players that are always going to be in the matchday 23 and right from the start were never going to play any club games which is a shame for them. One would hope that these players might sometimes front up on a Saturday morning so the kids from that club can see him  watching their games at 9.00am and shake their hands when presenting the Player of the Day ribbons- an excellent PR exercise  - but I doubt that it would happen too much.
     
    However getting back to your original question there are occasional appearances by squad members but not that often. Willis Halaholo turned out a couple of times for Poneke last season but that is the exception rather than the rule. Ditto Iopo Iopu Aso for Ories (but he was almost permanently injured) and maybe Vince Aso might have turned out for Petone once or twice as well. Think Ben May might also have fronted up for OBU against my Club at one time but if he did you would never have picked him to be a Super player if you did not know before hand.  Speaking of Ben May I see he fronted in the hiding handed out by the Western Force on Wednesday. Not sure why as don't think he holds a Super Contract of any kind and cannot recall him fronting for the Wellington Lions last season either.

    Interesting to read that Bay players have that clause in their contract. I think it makes perfectly sense for WTG and other fringe Super Rugby players from outside the Auckland, Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago regions to play their club rugby in their home/NPC province. Probably Guildford could be required to play for a local Chch club in 2014, because he had signed a contract with Clermont and was using an out clause in his HBRU contract, but I'm just guessing.
     
    Unless this document is wrong, Ben May has a full contract with the Hurricanes. It's strange he's not on the Canes website though. A quick look at the Canes and Lions Facebook feed, tells me he played for the Canes at least twice last year (from the bench); made his Lions debut v Taranaki, started for them at least once and was named on the bench at least twice.



  • Canty and Waikato were the dominant U19 teams but Auckland seems really under-represented.  Let's wait until the squads for March/April are named to get a better idea of the spread of talent.  Isaia Walker-Leawere (Poverty Bay) stands out for me as he isn't from a major province - yet.

    In the list so far, the talent is pretty evenly spread. Waikato and Canterbury have a fair bit of names in there, but most of those players were poached from elsewhere.
     
    Waikato have definitely stepped it up in the recruiting department lately(even at ITM Cup level too). 9 of the 15 Waikato names in there were picked up from elsewhere.
     
    Canterbury have 8 names in there, but 6 of them are from elsewhere(this was similar to last year too).



  • These are the names I'd be picking, though the team will probably be considerably different, especially as most of this is from match reports of various games, rather than having seen these players play.
     
    Prop
    Mason Kean - can play anywhere in the front row
    Alex Fidow - a huge prop who got the golden boot for NZ Secondary schools
    Joe Apikotoa - moved to league briefly before representing Wellington last year. Good ball runner.
    Ayden Johnstone - Not sure about these two. I don't know too much about these players.
    Jonah Aoina
     
    Hooker
    Leni Apisai - Hurricanes player - his ball running was very good in the ITM Cup (as was his defensive work).
    Asafo Aumua - impressed for NZ Secondary Schools last year.
     
    Lock
    Hamish Dalzell - the balding fella that played last year. Will probably get picked, though everyone thought he was useless.
    Sam Ulufonua - A big, 120kg lock. Made the Auckland training squad early last year. Hopefully follows in the footsteps of Tuipulotu rather than Fatialofa.
    Isaia Walker-Leawere - played for Poverty Bay in the Heartland competition. Should still be eligible next year, too.
    Paripari Parkinson - signed for Tasman for this year's ITM Cup
     
    Loose forwards
    Hugh Renton - Hurricanes player, though really needs to impress
    Mitchell Jacobson - Has played in the last two U20 tournaments
    Hapakuki Moala-Liava'a - Played in the ITM Cup - very good ball runner
    Charlie Gamble - Canterbury openside. Won MVP in the U19 tournament  last year (Karpik was the previous winner)
     
    Halfback
    Sam Nock - Blues player
    Liam Howley - trained with the Highlanders, played alright for Southland (there are several other decent options here)
     
    First-Five
    TJ Va'a - Hurricanes player
    Ere Enari - a halfback, though it is my understanding Canterbury are training him into a first-five, though I hear he needs to work on his game management. Scott Robertson is coach, and he might be keen to test him out here (also offers a bit of versatility). Can play in 2017, too.
    Orbyn Leger/Jonathan Taumateine - Both from Counties. Leger is eligible next year. Taumateine can play halfback, and has played for Counties 7s.
     
    Midfield
    Thomas Umaga-Jensen - huge, skillful player, huge potential
    Peter Umaga-Jensen - huge, skillful player, huge potential
    Sio Tomkinson - Golden boot in 2014 secondary schools, from memory
    Jonah Lowe - Perhaps didn't perform as well as he would have liked in the ITM Cup for Hawkes Bay, but is the most prominent name left. This spot could be up for grabs.
     
     
    Outside backs
    Jordan Trainor - Blues player, impressed in his few ITM Cup games
    Shaun Stevenson - Chiefs player, had a promising first ITM Cup season
    Mason Emerson - played for Hawkes Bay and did ok
    Malo Tuitama - played a preseason game for the Hurricanes



  • Good writeup, Bobily.
     
    Three of those guys made last year's team - Apisai just the Oceania tournament, Dalzell and Jacobsen both the Oceania and World tournments.
     
    Jonah Lowe is midfield more than wing.
     
    Who are the fullback contenders?



  • Cheers, I've edited the post.
     
    I should have used the label 'Outside backs', rather than wings. Stevenson and Trainor can both play fullback. I think one of the Umaga-Jensen brothers has also played a bit of fullback.



  • Jordan Trainor, Shaun Stevenson, Peter Umaga-Jensen and Shelford Murray would be the contenders for fullback, but I think the first two would be front runners for the position.



  • Finn Hoeata(Jarrad Hoeata's brother) would have a good shot of making the team. He was a bit under the radar through school because he went to Dilworth(a 1B school at the time he was there), but when he played for the Blues U18s and NZ Barbarians, he really impressed. Was probably a little unlucky not to make NZ Schools.
     
    I'm thinking there is a lack of punch in the backrow. Moala-Liavaa is a decent ball carrier, but not a dominant one. Maybe Razor could add Lona Halaholo to the team to take care of that role. A player who can punish players with and without the ball. I think Halaholo has signed for Canterbury, so maybe Razor might have him as a late inclusion?
     
    I really like Jonathan Taumateine as a halfback more so than a 10. I think he is so naturally talented, that if he puts it all together, he could really go far. He can also cover a bit of fullback as well.



  • Agreed, Finn Hoeata was impressive for the NZ Barbarians (from the first half anyway - I never got around to watching the rest). I guess he would also add a bit of height to the backrow, as well as potentially being able to fill in at lock.
     
    Given some of the other powerful ball carriers in the team, I'm not sure the lack of punch in the backrow will be a problem. I'm sure the likes of Fidow, Apisai, Apikotoa and Ulufonua should be able to get the ball going forward. The Umaga-Jensen twins will also be capable of gaining some decent ground further out. However, another option could be Mikaele-Tu'u.
     
    The problem that Taumateine might face is that we aren't short of halfback options. Besides Nock and Howley, Levien played last year and may return, and I've heard good things about Milo-Harris. However, he could be there ahead of Enari as a first-five/halfback cover. I don't know too much about the other first-five options, but they should be alright if they are there ahead of Faiane and McKay.



  • These are the names I'd be picking, though the team will probably be considerably different, especially as most of this is from match reports of various games, rather than having seen these players play.
     
    Prop
    Mason Kean - can play anywhere in the front row
    Alex Fidow - a huge prop who got the golden boot for NZ Secondary schools
    Joe Apikotoa - moved to league briefly before representing Wellington last year. Good ball runner.Ayden Johnstone - Not sure about these two. I don't know too much about these players.

    I've seen plenty of Johnstone as he was the captain of Ham BHS.  He's a very mobile prop and a decent scrummager.
     
    A couple of other names you didn't mention. 
     
    Jahrome Brown - he was also one of the stars of the champion HBHS 1st XV.  Brown reminded me of a young Jerry Collins when I watched him play, an abrasive ball-runner and hard tackling 6/8.
    Luke Jacobson - Mitchell's younger brother and considered by many to be the best of the 3 Jacobson brothers.  They all play for Hautapu and formed their entire loose forward trio in a few games last year.



  • What about dalton papali'i? Rated very highly
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  • Likely Starting XV:

    1. Joe Apikatoa (Hurricanes/Wellington)
    2. Leni Apisai - (Hurricanes/Wellington)
    3. Alex Fidow - (Hurricanes/Wellington)
    4. Isaia Walker-Leawere (Wellington)
    5. Sam Ulufonua - (Auckland)6. Mitchell Jacobson - (Waikato)
    6. Charlie Gamble - (Canterbury)
    7. Hugh Renton (Hurricanes/Hawkes Bay)
    8. Sam Nock (Blues/Northland)
    9. TJ Va'a - (Hurricanes/Wellington)
    10. Jonah Lowe (Hawkes Bay)
    11. Thomas Umaga Jensen (Hurricanes/Highlanders/Otago)
    12. Peter Umaga Jensen (Hurricanes/Wellington)
    13. Malo Tuitama (Hurricanes/Wellington)
    14. Shaun Stevenson (Chiefs/Waikato)