Baby Blacks look the business

Last updated 20:09 05/06/2008

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Player familiarity should not be a problem for New Zealand when they open their account at the under-20 rugby junior world championship in Wales on Saturday (NZ time).

The New Zealand team, named to play Tonga in Cardiff, feature eight players who won last year's under-19 world championship final against South Africa.

They are captain Chris Smith, Ash Dixon, Paea Fa'anunu, Zac Guildford, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Peter Saili, Josh Townsend and Jackson Willison.

As well, six players named on the bench for Saturday played in that match, won 31-7 by New Zealand.

New Zealand's other pool matches in Wales are against Ireland and Argentina.

Co-coach Dave Rennie said his full squad were sure to get a run during the pool stages of the tournament.

"We play a game every four days and the full squad will get some game time during the pool part of the competition."

Rennie expects his team to be challenged up front by Tonga.

"Traditionally Tongan rugby teams have been strong in the forwards and we expect a similar approach from the team we will face on Saturday."

New Zealand: Zac Guildford (Hawke's Bay), Joe Hill (Wellington), Michael Harris (North Harbour), Jackson Willison (Waikato), Andre Taylor (Manawatu), Daniel Kirkpatrick (Wellington), Aaron Smith (Manawatu), Mathew Luamanu (Wellington), Hugh Reed (Hawke's Bay), Peter Saili (Auckland), Josh Townsend (Otago), Chris Smith (captain, North Harbour), Toby Smith (Waikato), Ash Dixon (Hawke's Bay), Paea Fa'anunu (Auckland). Reserves: Quentin MacDonald (Tasman), Ben Afeaki (North Harbour), Sam Whitelock (Canterbury), Luke Braid (Bay of Plenty), Grayson Hart (Auckland), Trent Renata (Waikato), Ryan Crotty (Canterbury).


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