3 contracted Crusaders players, Macca Springer, Noah Hotham and Taha Kemara; as well as 4 Crusaders Academy players have today been named in the 2023 New Zealand Under 20 Wider Squad.
The 2023 New Zealand Under 20 wider squad of 38 players has been selected by Head Coach Clark Laidlaw and Assistants Marty Bourke and Wesley Clarke after a comprehensive player identification process including the Bunnings Warehouse Super Rugby U20 tournament held in Taupō.
The squad features eight players who have had Super Rugby experience or are contracted in this year's DHL Super Rugby Pacific squads. Young Crusaders first five-eighth Taha Kemara, halfback Noah Hotham and winger Macca Springer, Hurricanes up and comers, fullback Harry Godfrey, hooker Raymond Tuputupu and No.8 Peter Lakai, along with talented Blues wing Caleb Tangitau and Highlanders hooker Jack Taylor. In addition, All Blacks Sevens players Che Clark, Codemeru Vai and Payton Spencer will make the switch back to fifteens.
New Zealand Under 20 Head Coach Clark Laidlaw said he was pleased with the squad that has been selected and is looking forward to this group challenging themselves to book their spot in the final squad to head to the U20 Rugby World Championship in South Africa.
“We have a talented group to work with and we know they have plenty to offer. The players will be put through their paces across our two camps in Wellington before we select our group that is finalised in May before we embark on a competitive and tough Rugby World Championship.
“There has been a huge amount of work that has been delivered by our selector network, alongside Wes and Marty. They have done an amazing job, to pull together an exciting group of young men.”
The final squad of 30 for the U20 World Rugby Championship in South Africa will be announced on Monday 5 June. See below for the named squad: