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Super Rugby contingent lift NZ U20

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/06/2016

Skipper Leni Apisai is one of five players from Super Rugby franchises included in New Zealand's starting 15 for the opening match of their defence of the world under-20 championship in Britain.

The hooker is joined by Hurricanes teammate TJ Va'a at first five-eighth, Chiefs fullback Shaun Stevenson, Highlanders centre Sio Tomkinson and Blues halfback Sam Nock for the match against Georgia in Salford.

Coach Scott Robertson says the Super Rugby contingent have brought leadership and professionalism to a young squad with nine players eligible to return next year.

"They've definitely lifted the standard and improved the willingness of the young players," he said.

"As a coach, that's what you want - the experienced players in the team to be driving it."

New Zealand open their campaign on Wednesday morning and their other pool opponents are Ireland and Wales.

New Zealand Under-20: Shaun Stevenson, Caleb Makene, Sio Tomkinson, Jordie Barrett, Jonah Lowe, TJ Va'a, Sam Nock, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Mitchell Jacobson, Luke Jacobson, Isaia Walker-Leawere, Quinten Strange, Sosefo Kautai, Leni Apisai (captain), Ayden Johnstone. Reserves: Asafo Aumua, Shaun Stodart, Alex Fidow, Hamish Dalzell, Hapakuki Moala-Liava'a, Jonathan Taumateine, Stephen Perofeta, Malo Tuitama.

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