While the All Blacks show incredible form in the Rugby Championship, the next batch of stars are already making names for themselves, despite still being in school. Ahead of their upcoming internationals, here is a look at some of those players to watch out for.
The New Zealand Schools and New Zealand Schools Barbarians kick off their 2017 campaigns this week, with matches against Fiji Schools and Tonga Schools respectively.*RESULTS UPDATE BELOW
New Zealand Schools side will face the Australian and Fijian Schools teams in a series that kicks off on October 2nd, so will no doubt be firing on all cylinders by then.
Here is a look at a potential starting XV to face Australia on October 7th, with the backs in particular standing out for their potency, with one or two names you may have already heard of.
New Zealand are always expected to bring a strong line-up at schoolboy level. It’s widely regarded as the foundation for their success in senior Test rugby. This year will be no different, and their backline in particular looks monstrous.
With most already aligned or signed with professional academies, this could be a special year for the side. Here is a short highlight reel, which includes a look at the younger brother of an All Black.
The forwards are an equally daunting prospect. The frighteningly large and talented group of youngsters will take confidence into their contests, particularly against Australia, who they have not lost to at this level in the last five seasons.
Professional rugby will not be far off for a lot of these boys, so don’t be surprised if you see them turning out for your favourite Super Rugby sides soon.
NEW ZEALAND SCHOOLS TEAM vs. FIJI SCHOOLS:
1. Tamaiti Williams (St Kentigern College), 2. Sam Cooper (St Paul’s Collegiate, Hamilton), 3. Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe (Hastings Boys’ High School), 4. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Wellington College), 5. Tupou Vaa’I (Wesley College), 6. Charles Alaimalo (Hamilton Boys’ High School), 7. Jeriah Mua (Hastings Boys’ High School), 8. Devan Flanders (Hastings Boys’ High School), 9. Taufa Funaki (Sacred Heart College, Auckland), 10. Rivez Reihana (St Kentigern College), 11. Leicester Faingaanuku (Nelson College), 12. Quinn Tupaea (Hamilton Boys High School) *CAPTAIN, 13. Tauterangimarie Kapea (Hamilton Boys’ High School), 14. Kini Naholo (Hastings Boys’ High School), 15. Etene Nanai (St Kentigern College)
Replacements: 16. Abraham Pole (Otago Boys’ High School), 17. Fatongia Paea (Sacred Heart College, Auckland), 18. George Dyer (St Paul’s Collegiate, Hamilton), 19. Quade Tapsell (Gisborne Boys’ High School), 20. Josh Southall (St Patrick’s College – Silverstream), 21. Humphrey Sheild (Napier Boys’ High School), 22. Lincoln McClutchie (Hastings Boys’ High School), 23. Isaiah Punivai (Christs College)
The Australia Schools team will host New Zealand Schools before the Greater Sydney Rams play Fiji Drua in the round five National Rugby Championship on the 7th. Australian Schools Barbarians v Fiji Schools takes place before that.
*SCORES UPDATE 29/09/2017:
New Zealand Schools beat Fiji Schools 54-7, while New Zealand Schools Barbarians beat Tonga Schools 33-19.
Monday 2 October, Knox Grammar School
– Australian Schools Barbarians v New Zealand Schoolboys, 1.00pm AEST
– Australia Schools v Fiji Schools, 3.00pm AEST
Saturday 7 October, TG Milner, Eastwood
– Australian Schools Barbarians v Fiji Schools, 11.00am AEST
– Australia Schools v New Zealand Schools, 12.50pm AEST
Coach Jason Holland previews the tournament, and talks about how exciting it is to work with such a talented group of young players.