Wellington Academy squad named to face Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu

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Wellington Rugby’s future stars are set for their first outing tomorrow, with a game of three halves in Palmerston North.

Twenty-six academy players will be contesting for Hurricanes under-20 selection alongside up and coming talent from Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay.

The first 40 minutes for Wellington will kick off at 11:30am against Manawatu. It will be followed by a second 40 minutes against Hawke’s Bay.

Wellington Rugby Director, Leo Crowley, says with so many boys in the fold, it’s a great opportunity to see how they go in different scenarios.

“We have a lot of talented young players trying to make it as professional footy players, so we want to make sure we give them opportunities to display their skills.

Crowley says, it will also be a good spectacle for rugby fans wanting to see the future of the sport on show.

“We have the best of the best going head to head and trying to make a name for themselves. If you’re a fan of good rugby and are near Massey University Fields, this will be a chance to view some impressive players of years to come.”

Selected in the Wellington squad are a handful of players who have already been in the Hurricanes environment over the summer.

Taine Plumtree, Caleb Delany, Hugo Plummer and Aidan Morgan were all part of the Hurricanes Hunters team which beat the Crusaders Development team 57 – 17 last weekend in Porirua.

Also up for selection are a handful of players set to attend the New Zealand Under-20 camp in March.

Wellington Rugby High Performance Unit Manager, Rick Whatarau, says it’s exciting to see such depth forming in the academy.

“We have world-class rugby players coming through our system and being noticed on a national level. 13 of our guys have been selected for that under-20 camp which is just fantastic to see.”

The Wellington Academy squad to play Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay is:

Niko Manaena, Pasi Uluilakepa, Blake Rogers, Tyrone Thompson, James Moodie, Matt Dobbyn, Taine Plumtree, Hugo Plummer, Angelo Smith, Akira Ieremia, Josh Southall, Sam Smith, Iona Apineru, Caleb Delany, Keelan Whitman, Isaac Bracewell, Aidan Morgan, Connor Collins, Reon Paul, Ropati So’oalo, Kienan Higgins, Steven Va’a Ethan Webster- Nonu, Roderick Solo, Ruben Love.

Players selected for under-20 NZ camp:

Tyrone Thompson, Taine Plumtree, Iona Apineru, Caleb Delany, Shamus Langton, Sam Smith, Josh Southall, Aidan Morgan, Ruben Love, Roderick Solo, Kienan Higgins.