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NZ name strong U20 team to face Ireland

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/06/2017

New Zealand have the top-qualifying berth in their sights heading into a final pool match against Ireland at the under-20 world championships in Georgia.

Coach Craig Philpott has named a strong team for the match on Thursday in Kautasi, which follows wins over Scotland (42-20) and Italy (68-26).

Victory would avenge a loss to the Irish at last year's tournament in Manchester, which ultimately led to missing a place in the semi-finals.

Philpott is ignoring that result, preferring to focus on their target of being the top-ranked team at the 12-team tournament, ensuring a match against fourth-ranked opposition in next week's semi-finals.

"Our clear goal from this match is to bag five points, so we can get to 15 for the round robin and hopefully qualify as the top seed," Philpott said.

"We expect Ireland to play with passion and like they have nothing to lose, hence the team we have named to put on the park."

Ireland have lost both of their games against Scotland and Italy narrowly.

New Zealand's main rivals for the top qualifying spot are defending champions England, who have also snared 10 points. England's final pool opponents are unbeaten Australia.

NZ under-20: Will Jordan, Tima Faingaanuku, Braydon Ennor, Orbyn Leger, Caleb Clarke, Tiaan Falcon, Ereatara Enari, Luke Jacobson (capt), Tom Christie, Sam Slade, Sam Caird, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Alex Fidow, Asafo Aumua, Ezekiel Lindenmuth. Reserves: John Sauni, Harrison Allan, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Adrian Choat, Marino Mikaele-Tuu, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Josh McKay.

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