A Bay of Plenty team has been named to play the New Zealand Under 20s as part of the national side's build-up for the World Rugby Under 20 Championship campaign next month.
Bay of Plenty Steamers coach Clayton McMillan will coach the Bay of Plenty XV Wasps' side against the New Zealand Under 20s at Murray Salt Stadium Te Puke tomorrow night.
The home team, playing in Wasps colours, won't be the only Bay players on the field, with five members of the NZ Under 20s from the region - Lalomilo Lalomilo and Cole Forbes (Te Puke), Jeriah Mua and Leroy Carter (Tauranga Sports) and Mount Maunganui's Kohan Herbert.
McMillan, who also coaches the Māori All Blacks, says it is great to see players from the region's high-performance programmes getting the chance to show their talents at a higher level.
"Our academy has been a work in progress. The fact that we got five players into the New Zealand Under 20s this year and it could have been more if Kaleb Trask had not been injured, is a huge testament to the programme and the people involved."
Bay of Plenty Rugby Union chief executive Mike Rogers says the union has been focused on developing a strong performance environment for young men and women.
"We have increased our investment in this area and worked through identifying what we believe are all the key elements to a successful programme," Rogers says.
''We have fantastic facilities and have developed some very exciting partnerships such as the research work we do with the University of Waikato.
"It is great we are now seeing the results with some of our targeted young players representing our country. However, we still believe we have areas that need to improve so we will continue to work hard to reach the standards we are aiming for."
The Te Puke match will provide the national squad with a hit out before they leave for the world champs in Argentina.
Bay of Plenty Wasps Squad:
Stan van den Hoven
Jayjay Sheung Fuk
Bay of Plenty Wasps vs New Zealand Under 20s.
Time: Kitchen and bar open from 5:50pm, Kick-off 6:35pm.
Location: Murray Salt Stadium, Te Puke.
Entry Fee: Gold coin donation