Robbie Robinson may start at 15
Southland's Robbie Robinson is bracing himself to step on to the world stage wearing the No 15 jersey rather than the No 10 jumper he has more commonly donned during his rugby career to date.
Robinson and the rest of the 26-man New Zealand under-20 squad will depart Auckland on Saturday bound for Japan, where they will take part in the junior world championship.
The 19-year-old, who debuted for the Stags last year, started yesterday at fullback in the New Zealand team's hitout game against Samoa at the East Coast Bays Rugby Club in Auckland.
New Zealand won the fixture 30-12, with Robinson playing most of the game at fullback before slotting in at first five-eighth later in the game.
With Manawatu first five-eighth Aaron Cruden this week named captain of the team, it is likely to be at the back where the exciting blond Southland prospect gets his best chance to shine in Japan.
Whether it is at fullback or first five-eighth, Robinson is happy either way.
"They hinted to me a wee while ago they seen me more as a fullback than a first five. I've been playing quite a bit there lately and at the end of the day it doesn't really worry me where I play," Robinson said soon after yesterday's hitout.
Fellow Southlanders Brayden Mitchell, hooker, and lock Alex Ryan are also part of the New Zealand under-20 squad.
Both came on in yesterday's game at halftime and both will also be mounting their cases for a starting berth in the team.
The world under-20 championships starts on June 5 and will run through until June 21.
"I just can't wait to get on the big bird and get into it," Robinson said.
NEW ZEALAND U20
The schedule v Uruguay, June 5 v Ireland, June 9 v Argentina, June 13 Semifinals, June 17 Final, June 21
The squad Trent Boswell-Wakefield (Hawke's Bay), Hamish Cochrane (Tasman), Aaron Cruden (Manawatu), Elliot Dixon (Canterbury), Shahn Eru (Wellington), Daniel Faleafa (Auckland), Maafu Fia (Manawatu), Zac Guildford (Hawke's Bay), Bernie Hall (Canterbury), Willie Ioane (Manawatu), Brayden Mitchell (Southland), Brendon O'Connor (Canterbury), Ken Pisi (North Harbour), Leighton Price (Hawke's Bay), Codey Rei (Taranaki), Robbie Robinson (Southland), Alex Ryan (Southland), Teddy Stanaway (Auckland), Winston Stanley (Auckland), Latu Talakai (Waikato), Shae Tamati (Hawke's Bay), Tom Taylor (Canterbury), Shaun Treeby (Wellington), Gauefa Tuigamala (North Harbour), Nafi Tuitavake (North Harbour), Frae Wilson (Wellington).
The Southland Times