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NZ under-20s pumped for World Champs

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/05/2017

Fresh off their Oceania Tournament victory, the New Zealand under-20s head to this month's World Rugby Under-20 Championship in Georgia confident they can reclaim a trophy that eluded them in 2016.

The under-20s coasted to the four-team Oceania championship on Sunday with a 43-6 trouncing of Australia, and have since culled the 32-man squad that travelled to the Gold Coast to 28.

Waikato-based loose forward Luke Jacobson will captain the side, which has been drawn in a pool with Scotland, Italy and Ireland.

The team finished fifth in last year's tournament in England, and have reselected seven players from that failed campaign.

New Zealand last won the title in 2015 with the likes of Anton Lienert-Brown, Akira Ioane, Otere Black and Ofa Tu'ungafasi in the squad.

"We want to learn the lessons from the last World Championship, and in particular ensure we're competitive in the forwards against the big northern hemisphere teams," head coach Craig Philpott said.

"We (also) want to play our natural high-tempo game and provide our backs plenty of space and opportunity to run.

"We scored a lot of tries on the Gold Coast and our focus now is on ensuring we play with both speed and accuracy."

The squad will assemble in Mount Maunganui this week, before their departure to Georgia at the end of the month.

Hurricanes young gun Jordie Barrett has not been considered for selection.

NEW ZEALAND UNDER-20s: Asafo Aumua, Sam Caird, Adrian Choat, Tom Christie, Ryan Coxon, Tim Farrell, Alex Fidow, Luke Jacobson (c), Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Marino Mikaele-Tuu, Dalton Papalii, Jacob Pierce, John Sauni, Samuel Slade, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Caleb Clarke, Ereatara Enari, Braydon Ennor, Tima Faingaanuku, Tiaan Falcon, Will Jordan, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Orbyn Leger, Josh McKay, Jona Nareki, Tamati Tua, Thomas Umaga-Jensen.

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