New-look NZ U20 gear up for Samoa clash
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: The New Zealand Under-20 head coach Craig Philpott has made 13 changes to his side against Samoa in their second match of the U20 Oceania Tournament on the Gold Coast on Tuesday.
Philpott was pleased with the team’s first round 63-3 victory over Fiji.
"I was particularly pleased with the defensive effort against Fiji, especially the fact that no tries were conceded.
"We exerted real pressure at the breakdown, resulting in several turnovers that we were able to capitalise on, with Tom Christie being a standout in that area. It was also a good test of our attacking shape and we were able to create regular scoring opportunities both out wide and in close.
"We’re looking forward to playing Samoa. There are a lot of New Zealand-based players in their team so we anticipate they will be motivated to perform well against us. They have dangerous attackers in their backline and are physical defenders so will certainly test our ability to keep our attacking shape.
"We wanted to give as many players as possible the opportunity to state their case for selection against Australia later in the week, and have made 13 changes to the starting XV with a few different combinations we are trying out.
"We have an exciting back three who have plenty of pace and a big midfield combination, so we will be wanting to give them some space to run. Marino and Asafo get their first starts in the pack and will no doubt be eager to carry the ball given the chance.
"We aren’t taking anything for granted. We have a lot of respect for Samoa and felt they put Australia under real pressure for significant parts of their game last Friday,"
New Zealand: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Jona Nareki, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Thomas Umaga Jensen, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Ciarahn Matoe, 9 Carlos Price, 8 Marino Mikaele-Tuu, 7 Adrian Choat Auckland, 6 Luke Jacobson (captain), 5 Sam Caird, 4 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 3 Ryan Coxon, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Tim Farrell
Replacements: 16 JP Sauni, 17 Ezekiel Lindenmuth, 18 Pouri Rakete-Stones, 19 Samuel Slade, 20 Dalton Papalii, 21 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 22 Orbyn Leger, 23 Tiaan Falcon
Date: Tuesday, May 2
Venue: Bond University, Gold Coast
Kick-off: 15.00 ( 17.00 New Zealand Time, 05.00 GMT)
Assistant referees: TBC