May 11, 2021

Black jersey beckons for Under 20 talent

The squad features Gallagher Chiefs 2021 debutants Josh Lord and Gideon Wrampling along with Taranaki's Nathaniel Peters and Waikato's Tepaea Cook-Savage and Cortez Lee-Ratima.

Matson said the level of talent on display at the Super Rugby Aotearoa Under 20 tournament meant selectors had tough decisions to make.

“The talent we saw in Taupō was outstanding. We have a real range of players; for some guys this will be their first black jersey and the culmination of a lot of years of hard work and then there’s guys like Ruben Love who has been starting at first five for the Hurricanes.

“There are also some very good rugby players that went close but have missed out and I have no doubt will go on to be very good rugby players,” said Matson.

The Under 20 schedule for 2021 is yet to be confirmed but Matson said they are hopeful for matches against Australia.

“The aim is two-fold, I have a clear remit to develop professional rugby players and our group of coaches need to provide a platform for these players to go to the next level, but also whenever you put on a black jersey there is expectation that you perform well so we really want to do that.”

The New Zealand Under 20 squad is:
Sione Ahio (Auckland)
Vaiolini Ekuasi (Auckland)
Corey Evans (Auckland)
Josh Fusitua (Auckland)
Meihana Grindlay (Auckland)
Manu Paea (Auckland)
Soane Vikena (Auckland)
George Bell (Canterbury)
Chay Fihaki (Canterbury)
Zach Gallagher (Canterbury)
Dom Gardiner (Canterbury)
Jack Sexton (Canterbury)
Harry Godfrey (Hawkes Bay)
Joseph Gavigan (Manawatu)
TK Howden (Manawatu)
Nathan Hastie (Otago)
Fabian Holland (Otago)
Sean Withy (Otago)
Josh Lord (Taranaki)
Nathaniel Peters (Taranaki)
Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens (Taranaki)
Luca Inch (Tasman)
Anton Segner (Tasman)
Tepaea Cook-Savage (Waikato)
Cortez Lee-Ratima (Waikato)
Gideon Wrampling (Waikato)
Riley Higgins (Wellington)
Peter Lakai (Wellington)
Ruben Love (Wellington)
Aidan Morgan (Wellington)

Not available due to injury: Fehi Finranganofo (Auckland), Joel Cobb (Auckland)

Black jersey beckons for Under 20 talent