Jack Stratton named captain of New Zealand Universities team
Canterbury halfback Jack Stratton has been named captain of the New Zealand Universities team for their two-match series later this month.
The 23-man squad was named on Tuesday for the side which will play a Bay of Plenty XV in Mount Maunganui on April 25 and Japanese side Kanto at Waikato Stadium on April 29, which will double as the curtain-raiser for the Chiefs' match against the Sunwolves.
The 22-year-old, who went to Feilding High School, has played 16 games for Canterbury since his debut in 2015.
He is among a handful of players who played provincial rugby last year.
Prop Chris Gawler played three games in his debut season with Canterbury while wing Lincoln wing Caleb Makene played for the New Zealand Under 20s.
Hamish Northcott is the only player in the team with Super Rugby experience.
The Manawatu midfielder played with the Blues in 2015. He is one of five Massey University players in the side along with Turbos No 10 Sam Malcolm, former Turbos hooker Nick Grogan along with outside back Sam Healy and No 8 Kirk Tufuga.
Other players with provincial caps to their names are Auckland No 8 Sinclair Dominikovich-Murray, Waikato inside back Jason Roberston and Wellington prop Finnbarr Kerr-Newell.
Sinclair-Dominikovich and Wellington wings Te Wehi Wright are the team's vice-captains.
The side is coached by Brendon Timmins and Simon Forrest.
To be selected in the team, players must be studying or recently finished studying as well as playing for one of the seven university rugby clubs in the country.
New Zealand Universities squad: Sam Healy (Massey), Hamish Northcott (Massey), Nick Grogan (Massey), Kirk Tufuga (Massey), Sam Malcolm (Massey), Jack Stratton (Lincoln) (c), Sinclair Dominikovich-Murray (Auckland) (vc), Te Wehi Wright (Old Boys-University, Wellington) (vc), Jason Robertson (Waikato), Harrison Groundwater (Lincoln), Marius Tonu'u (Auckland), Sam Godwin (Canterbury), Will Mangos (OBU, Wellington), Angus Williams (Otago), Finnbarr Kerr-Newell (OBU, Wellington), Chris Gawler (Lincoln), Nigel Gibb (Canterbury), Tom Hardy (Otago), Caleb Makene (Lincoln), Jono Osbourne (Lincoln), Marcel Renata (Auckland), Damien Scott (Auckland), Jack Sherratt (Otago)