Northlander Jake Heenan (pictured) has been named in the New Zealand under-20 rugby squad to contest the junior world championship in South Africa in June.
The former Whangarei Boys' High School First XV captain will be pushing for a start in his preferred positions of blindside, lock or No8.
Coach Rob Penney named a 28-strong squad after a group of 46 attended the selection camp, culminating in a trial game.
He said selecting a team was difficult as a lot of boys putting in big performances during the trial game.
The team head to the competition as the defending champions and favourites to defend its title.
Auckland's Gnafatasi Sua was unavailable for selection due to injury, while TJ Perenara (Wellington, Hurricanes) and Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty, Chiefs) had Super 15 commitments.
The squad leaves for South Africa on May 30, and opens their tournament against Samoa on June 4 at Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch.
New Zealand under-20 squad: Pita Ahki, Fraser Armstrong, Hugh Blake, Ambrose Curtis, Scott Eade, Jason Emery, Bryn Hall, Marnus Hanley, Nathan Harris, Jake Heenan, Milford Keresoma, Jonathon Kitto, Joe Latta, Christian Lloyd, Taniela Manu, Rhys Marshall, Martin McKenzie, Ope Peleseuma, Glenn Preston, Matt Proctor, Tuki Raimona, Nick Ross, Eric Sione, Junior Tafa Va'a, Jordan Taufua, Jimmy Tupou, Ofa Tuungafasi, Ihaia West.