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Strong NZ under-20 squad named

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/04/2017

New Zealand coach Craig Philpott has named a strong squad with plenty of depth for the Oceania under-20 rugby tournament beginning on the Gold Coast later this month.

Former national secondary schools representatives Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Ciarahn Matoe are late additions to the squad.

Philpott said Umaga-Jensen's return from hip surgery had been encouraging.

"He's had three weeks of club rugby and is tracking well. We know what he is capable of after his time in the secondary schools team, and he's a welcome addition now that he's injury-free."

All Blacks apprentice Jordie Barrett is unavailable due to Super Rugby commitments with the Hurricanes and Blues first five-eighth Stephen Perofeta is still recovering from an ankle injury.

In their absence, Philpott said Matoe was a valuable inclusion as extra cover at first five-eighth.

"Ciarahn's time with the Chiefs under-20 squad has gone well and he proved himself with the New Zealand Secondary Schools team last year. This is a good opportunity for him."

The squad will play Fiji on April 28, Samoa on May 2 and Australia on May 6, with the added lure of a spot in the team for the world championship in Georgia in May and June.

Forwards: Harrison Allan, Asafo Aumua, Sam Caird, Adrian Choat, Tom Christie, Ryan Coxon, Tim Farrell, Alex Fidow. Luke Jacobson (captain), Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Marino Mikaele-Tuu, Dalton Papalii, Jacob Pierce, John Sauni, Samuel Slade, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Isaia Walker-Leawere.

Backs: Caleb Clarke, Ereatara Enari (vice-captain), Braydon Ennor, Tima Faingaanuku, Tiaan Falcon, Will Jordan, Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Orbyn Leger, Ciarahn Matoe, Josh McKay, Jona Nareki, Carlos Price, Tamati Tua, Thomas Umaga-Jensen.

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