Journey to 2018 World Rugby Under 20 Championship begins

Getty Images     31 Oct 2017     Getty Images

Players selected to attend the development camp in Palmerston North from 3-9 December 2017 are: 

John Akau'ola-Laula - Auckland
Sione Asi - Manawatu
Suetena Asomua - Counties Manukau
Tom Christie - Canterbury
Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta - Tasman
Rob Cobb - Auckland
Jacob Devery - Hawkes Bay
Sosaia Fale - Waikato
Tim Farrell - Hawkes Bay
Devan Flanders - Hawkes Bay
Tom Florence - Taranaki
Brayden Iose - Manawatu
Ricky Jackson - Otago
Joe Johnson - Bay of Plenty
Josh Kaho - Waikato
Tevita Mafileo - Bay of Plenty
Slade McDowall - Otago
Laghlan McWhannell - Waikato
Sam Moli - Tasman
Ajay Mua - Bay of Plenty
Xavier Numia - Wellington
Waimana Reidlinger-Kapa - Auckland
Ben Sa'u - Auckland
Bradley Slater - Taranaki
Hoskins Sotutu - Auckland
Cameron Suafoa - Auckland
Sione Talitui - Auckland
Flynn Thomas - Southland
Will Tucker - Canterbury
Kaliopasi Uluilakepa - Wellington
Tupou Va'ai - Taranaki
Ricky Van Der Heyden - Bay of Plenty

Wiseguy Faiane-  Auckland
Leicester Faingaanuku - Tasman
Scott Gregory - Northland
Jack Grooby - Tasman
Ciarahn Matoe - Taranaki
Rupena Parkinson - Tasman
Harry Plummer - Auckland
Rameka Poihipi - Canterbury
Carlos Price - Wellington
Billy Proctor - Wellington
Ngane Punivai - Canterbury
Jay Renton - Southland
Xavier Roe - Waikato
Jamie Spowart - Tasman
Bailyn Sullivan - Waikato
Tanielu Tele'a - Auckland
Danny Toala - Hawkes Bay
Salyn Tonu'u - North Harbour
Sheldon Tovio - Waikato
Kaleb Trask - Bay of Plenty

Not considered due to Super Rugby or Sevens commitments: Caleb Clarke (Auckland), Will Jordan (Tasman), Vilimoni Koroi (Otago).

Not considered due to injury: Will Tremain (Hawke's Bay), Raymond Nu'u (Canterbury).
Coach Craig Philpott said it was always an exciting part of the process to get the players in for the first development camp.

“There is a lot done to get to this point. We have selectors across the country looking at several levels of rugby – 1st XV, Jock Hobbs, Mitre 10 Cup - this is a chance to get them in and see where they are at,” said Philpott.

“We are particularly pleased with the depth we have in this group compared to previous years. Especially in the front row – we have five hookers and nine props coming in because they have all put their hands up.”

The squad features 10 players who had been involved in the 2016 wider squad, while four players have been recognised for their performances in the New Zealand Schools’ team earlier this month.

“We’ll assess the boys on strength and conditioning, body composition, skill set and technical knowledge of the game. From there we can put together a clear plan with specific goals and guidelines for each player so they know what is expected from them.”

Most players will be involved with Super Rugby development or age group programmes at the start of 2018 before assembling again in March. A squad will be selected from the development group to play in the Oceania Tournament in April in Australia.

Philpott will once again be joined by Assistant Coach Willie Rickards and scrum coach Dave Hewett, with David Hill (Bay of Plenty) also joining the coaching team in an assistant’s role.

“It’s great to have continuity in coaching with three of the four returning for another campaign. And David is familiar with our programme as he’s worked as a skills coach in the past so has a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve.”

The 2018 Under 20 Championship schedule (dates and venue) has yet to be confirmed