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Reward for NZ's top secondary school players as Schools’ teams announced

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Players from 29 schools across the country have been named in the New Zealand Schools’ and New Zealand Schools’ Barbarians teams for 2019, announced by New Zealand Rugby today.

A huge 1st XV season culminated last weekend with the Finals played in Palmerston North, the city will also play host to the 50 young players selected across the two representative teams.

The New Zealand Schools squad features seven players that were involved in the schools programme last year, including two who have graduated from the Barbarians team.

The Heartland Unions are represented in the New Zealand Schools team by Whanganui Colleagiate’s Ben Strang. Players represent a total of 12 provincial unions with the biggest representation from Auckland and Canterbury.

Newly-crowned National Co-Ed champions St Kentigern College has seven players selected across the two national Schools teams, with Christchurch Boys’ High School and King’s College also strongly represented.

The New Zealand Schools’ team is;


Cam ChurchSaint Kentigern College

Allan CraigSaint Kentigern College

Vaiolini EkuasiSt Peter's Cambridge

Zach GallagherChrist's College

Dom GardinerSt Bede's College

Vincent GreenHamilton Boys' High School

Meihana GrindlayKing's College

Wil GualterLincoln High School

Finau HalafihiAuckland Grammar School

Max HughesChristchurch Boys' High School

Corey KellowSacred Heart College

Jacob KneepkensFrancis Douglas Memorial College

Ollie LewisChristchurch Boys' High School

Ben LopasChristchurch Boys' High School

Ruben LovePalmerston Boys' High School

Aidan MorganKing's College

Blair MurrayNew Plymouth Boys' High School

Manu PaeaRotorua Boys' High School

Te Rama ReubenSaint Kentigern College

Anton SegnerNelson College

Jack SextonSt Andrew's College

Roderick SoloScots College

Ben StrangWhanganui Collegiate

Tiaan TauakipuluSaint Kentigern College

Gideon WramplingSt Paul's Collegiate

New Zealand Schools’ Coach Mark Hammett commended the programme’s talent spotters across the country, noting they had made the job of selecting a squad of just 25 very difficult.

"It’s a massive undertaking from the talent identification staff across the country. It’s a long process and we have been really impressed with the players. We are seeing well-run school programmes which means the fundamental skills these players have, are top notch."

Hammett said the team had a mixture of in-form players alongside those who have shown great potential.

"For these players, at this stage of their lives, making this team is the goal. Now they have made that, I want to encourage them to think about what they do in the black jersey and how they will represent it. This is an opportunity to learn and grow and our management team want to ensure we are promoting that development."

When the squad assembles in Palmerston North later this month, Hammett said the goal was to create an amazing rugby experience.

"We want this group to go away as better players. As a team, we will set our goals and the values and behaviours we want as a squad, and if we do that, we should get the results we are after," said Hammett.

Joining Hammett as Assistant Coach is Sam Rasch (Scots College) and Skills Coach Kevin Harding (Canterbury). The New Zealand Schools team will play a game of three halves in Palmerston North on 26 September before traveling to Hamilton for matches against Fiji Schools and Australia Under 18s.

The New Zealand Schools’ Barbarians team is;


Lattrell Ah KiongHastings Boys' High School

Eto BainivaluSt Bede's College

George BellJohn McGlashan College

James BrownKing's College

Taya BrownNelson College

Seb CalderSt Andrew's College

Tepaea Cook-SavageSt Paul's Collegiate

Matt DobbynHamilton Boys' High School

Leeroy FergusonJohn McGlashan College

Joseph GaviganManukura

Julian GoerkeHasting Boys' High School

Jamie HannahChristchurch Boys' High School

TK HowdenFeilding High School

Dayton IobuKing's College

Treyah KingiSaint Kentigern College

Brian Leali'ifanoSacred Heart

Giovanni LeitualaKing's High School

Michael MansonOtago Boys' High School

Jona MataiciwaSaint Kentigern College

Sosaia MoalaAuckland Grammar

Monu MoliMarlborough Boys' High School

Alfred NonuTangaroa College

Javarne PorterWhangarei Boys' High School

Hakaraia Richards CoxheadHamilton Boys' High School

Leandro VakatiniKing's College

New Zealand Schools Barbarians Coach Gus Leger, a member of the NZ Barbarians club, said he was excited about assembling this group under the Barbarians banner.

"The Barbarians have a rich history and we will draw on that when we come together.Being part of the Barbarians is unique and I know this will be great experience for the players."

Leger said the Barbarians programme will provide a memorable rugby experience for these players to footnote their school careers.

"This is a great opportunity for these players and the pathway it can create.Playing international rugby is a huge honour and I am looking forward to seeing what we will be able to achieve."

Leger said with only a short time together, ‘connection’ will be one of the first areas for the squad to focus upon.

"We need to find our connections and understand our ‘why’. As a management group we want to make sure these players are going to work for each other in what is a short space of time to come together. On the field, we need to set our foundations, particularly at set piece, and if we get that right, players will be able to really express themselves."

Assisted by Mark Hooper (Kelston Boys' High School), the Barbarians team play a game of three halves in Palmerston North before matches against Australia Under 18s and Fiji Schools in Hamilton.

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