Craig Philpott named Under 20s coach

Magpies coach Craig Philpott, right.
Magpies coach Craig Philpott, right.

Craig Philpott steps up from 2ic to be the new head coach of the New Zealand Under 20s.

The Hawkes Bay Magpies and previous Under 20 assistant replaces Scott Robertson, now with the Crusaders.

"I'm excited about this coaching opportunity. Identifying and assisting in the development of the next crop of New Zealand rugby talent is extremely rewarding," said Philpott, after naming a squad of 49 for the first of the development camps, next week in Palmerston North.

"Playing for New Zealand Under 20 can be the launch pad to a professional rugby career, and this development camp is an integral component of the player development system in this country.

"This programme is a great breeding ground for new talent to put their hand up for higher honours. Ten players from this year's team have been selected for Super Rugby squads in 2017 and 23 of the players on the 2016 All Blacks' northern tour have previously been part of the Under 20 programme.

"The message to the boys is clear, if you work hard and show determination you have a real chance of turning rugby into a profession. The development camp introduces them to a high-performance environment and the higher level of expectation, fitness and discipline that goes along with that.

"These players will need to work hard on their individual development plans over the summer if they want to stay in contention for the next two development camps and selection for the World Championship squad to go to Georgia in May and June."

Philpott will have two assistant coaches with him for the 2017 campaign. Taranaki's Willie Rickards has been re-appointed along with new assistant Cory Brown, head coach of the Otago Mitre 10 Cup team.

"Both Willie and Cory come from excellent provincial rugby environments, and I am excited about what both will bring to our campaign," Philpott said.

"Dave Hewett has also been appointed as scrum coach and brings a wealth of Super Rugby experience as well as good knowledge of this group after coaching many of them in the New Zealand Schools programme."

New Zealand Under 20 will hold further camps in March and April next year, before taking part in the Oceania tournament on the Gold Coast in April and May. A squad of 28 will be selected to go to the Under 20 World Championship in Georgia from May 25-June 18, where they will be desperate to improve on the disappointing fifth place finish from 2016.

The full coaching and management team for the New Zealand Under 20 squad is:
Craig Philpott (head coach), Willie Rickards, Cory Brown (assistant coaches), Dave Hewett (scrum coach), Martyn Vercoe (manager), Noah Whitehead (doctor), Damian Banks (physiotherapist), Ian Cleland (strength and conditioning coach), TBC (performance analyst), Tracy Kirkcaldy (nutritionist), Kylie Wilson (mental skills coach)

Squad for training camp:
Forwards: Asafo Aumua, Ben Power (Wellington), JP Sauni (Auckland), Chris Cairns (Manawatu), Pouri Rakete-Stones (Hawke's Bay), Alex Fidow (Wellington), Jerry Samania (Auckland, Ben Aumua-Peseta, Sitiveni Paongo (Wellington), Ezekiel Lindinmuth (Auckland), Harrison Allan (Canterbury), Afioga Ielemia (Auckland), Sam Caird (Waikato), Jacob Pierce (Auckland), Isaia Walker-Leawere (Wellington), Shiniel Singh (Waikato), Will Tucker (Canterbury), Sam Slade (Auckland), Luke Jacobson (Waikato), Sione Tuipulotu (Counties Manukau), Tom Christie (Canterbury), Slade McDowall (Otago), Adrian Choat (Auckland), Du Plessis Kirifi (Waikato), Brayden Iose (Manawatu), Josh Brown (Wellington), Dylan Lam (North Harbour), Marino Mikaele-Tu'u (Hawke's Bay), Isaiah Miller (Tasman)
Backs: Caleb Korteweg (Waikato), Lewis Gjaltema (North Harbour), Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Carlos Price (Wellington), Tiaan Falcon (Hawke's Bay), Matt Lansdown (Waikato), Orbyn Leger (Counties Manukau), Matt McKenzie (Taranaki), Braydon Ennor (Canterbury), Tamati Tua (Northland), Lester Maulolo (Wellington), Nikolai Foliaki (Auckland), Tima Faingaanuuku (Tasman), Josh McKay (Canterbury), Caleb Clarke, TJ Vaega (Auckland), Sheldon Tovio (Waikato), Tyler Campbell (Waikato), Josh Buchan (Otago), Will Jordan (Canterbury)

Not considered due to Super Rugby commitments were:
Jordie Barrett, Peter Umaga-Jensen (Hurricanes), Stephen Perofeta (Blues), Ere Enari (Crusaders)

Not considered due to injury were:
Thomas Umaga-Jensen (Otago), James Little (North Harbour), Otu Mausia, Dalton Papali'i (Auckland), Ryan Coxon (Waikato)

- NZ Herald

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