The Wellington Under-19 squad has been named for the Jock Hobbs Memorial Tournament which kicks off in Taupo on Sunday.
Wellington will head to the tournament as top seeds from the Hurricanes region after they defeated Hawke’s Bay 50-7 to win the Central Region Shield on Saturday.
That saw them finish unbeaten in the lead-up to the tournament where they will compete for the Graham Mourie Cup with their first match against Otago.
Wellington head coach Dion Waller was pleased with the effort against Hawke’s Bay as he prepares the squad this week to head to Taupo on Friday.
“We had some good aspects to our game around the basics but also had highlighted a couple of work ons to take to tournament. All in all we are happy with our plan," he said.
“We have had some good results but its no secret that games won't have big blow out scorelines in Taupo. So a mental shift is needed to be ready for a more physical and fast paced, high skilled game as tournament rugby is different to grading games."
Waller admitted there had been some tough calls in finalising his 25-man squad which includes four players frm the 2018 campaign in Kienan Higgins, Caleb Delany, Shamus Langton and Taine Plumtree.
"It’s a emotional time as a coach to tell a player around non selection, but our words as a management team have been you’ve been identified as a young man with talent, take this experience you’ve had during this programme to date and keep working hard for your club and aim to make the Wellington Centurions, Maori or Samoans in the future," Waller added.
“We are well represented from all around the Wellington region and we have stuck to our themes all the way through this campaign that focus on being together and making sure we are all mates,” he said.
“To go to the tournament and do really well, we want the boys to understand the hard work that goes into it and we have put in a lot of hard work, and we need to do that because these are the best teams in the country.”
Waller also wanted to personally thank their 04 sponsors who have been passionate about the youth development - Monty, Jamie and Will, Mikey T, Sean Hannan, Paddy, Paul Latham, Ben May (Supplier of Venison), Scotty Meats, Dustin.