Italy's northern regions of Lombardy and Emilia Romagna are a long way from Kawakawa.

But for the township's star rugby playing twins, Jack and Josh Goodhue, "everywhere's a long way from Kawakawa".

The twin brothers jet off for Italy today for the World Rugby under-20 championships, a journey which will see them more than 18,000km from home.

 Josh Goodhue will join twin brother Jack to fly to Italy with the national team for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
Josh Goodhue will join twin brother Jack to fly to Italy with the national team for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

After pursuing university studies and rugby in Canterbury and abroad, the twins acknowledge they have not forgotten their rural roots.


"I'd definitely like to get back there [Northland] in the future," Josh Goodhue said.

"We've always had a plan to head back up North."

Growing up in the rural reaches of the mid-north, the Goodhue twins had a hefty dose of rugby in their Weet-Bix for breakfast from a young age.

Family support played a huge role in their upbringing, especially the guidance and brotherly love of elder siblings Cam and Axel.

"Older brothers, they toughen you up," Jack said.

One occasion stands out as a vivid memory for Josh.

"Our elder brother, Axel, took us down to the rugby field once to toughen us up," he said.

The story goes on to describe the twins lying on the ground while Axel delicately introduced them to the art of rucking.


This story, and many like it, have shaped the twins' development and, more importantly, their twin synergy.

Although any hint of twin mind powers or telekinesis have been laid to rest, Jack recalls a degree of bizarre events between the two brothers when they were little tackers.

"Not so much now, but when we were younger we somehow connected and found each with obscure offloads on the rugby field."

The brothers also admit sitting in front of each other in the lounge on occasions and trying to read each other's thoughts - usually to no avail.

"There's no such thing as a perfect twin relationship," Josh said.

The New Zealand Under-20s took on the Chiefs Development XV at Blake Park on Monday and managed to record a 22-20 win and the Goodhue brothers featured in the 23-strong team.

Touted as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the twins are well aware of the impending interest they will receive after playing in the tournament.

Despite forgoing the opportunity to continue with the All Black Sevens team, and a potential shot at gold in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Jack is content with his decision to take it slow and steady.

"It was a tough decision," Jack says.

"Sevens is still an option for me and something I might pursue after under-20s.

" I can play sevens in the future - but under-20s only once."

-The New Zealand Under-20s depart for Italy today at 5.30pm.