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NZ under-20 squad named for world champs

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 9/05/2016

Leni Apisai poses during the New Zealand Rugby U20s headshots session © Phil Walter/Getty Images for NZRU Leni Apisai poses during the New Zealand Rugby U20s headshots session Hurricanes hooker Leni Apisai will lead the New Zealand under-20 team in the defence of their junior world championship title in Manchester.

Wellingtonian Apisai is one of six Super Rugby-contracted players named in the 28-man squad unveiled by coach Scott Robertson to contest the tournament starting on June 7.

The other to have played Super Rugby this season is Chiefs winger Shaun Stevenson who, like Apisai, has made four appearances.

Others in Super Rugby wider squad contracts are backs Jordan Trainor and Sam Nock (both Blues), Patelesio Tomkinson (Highlanders) and TJ Va'a (Hurricanes).

Robertson, who steered New Zealand to their fifth world crown in Italy last year, was confident his squad offers the sort of skill and versatility needed to succeed.

"It's a good balance - a little bit of experience, youth and exuberance from the young fellas, and the professionalism from the Super players," he said.

The side was beaten for the first time by their Australian counterparts on Saturday after winning the first fixture between the sides 30-10.

Waikato's Mitchell Jacobson returns for third appearance at the annual tournament and is joined by his younger brother and fellow-loose forward, Luke.

Midfield back Jordie Barrett and lock Fin Hoeata are the younger brothers of All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Jarrad Hoeata.

New Zealand's pool comprises Georgia, Ireland and Wales.

NZ under-20 squad:

Backs: Caleb Makene, Shaun Stevenson, Jordan Trainor, Jonah Lowe, Malo Tuitama, Orbyn Leger, Jordie Barrett, Patelesio Tomkinson, TJ Va'a, Stephen Perofeta, Jonathan Taumateine, Sam Nock.

Forwards: Mitchell Jacobson, Luke Jacobson, Dalton Papali'i, Marino Mikaele Tu'u, Hapakuki Moala-Liava'a, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Fin Hoeata, Quinten Strange, Hamish Dalzell, Ayden Johnstone, Shaun Stodart, Sean Paranihi, Alex Fidow, Sosefo Kautai, Leni Apisai (capt), Asafo Aumua.

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