Te Awamutu Sports rugby winger Cody Nordstrom has been called into the New Zealand Under 20 for their first international fixtures in three years.
"We are proud to announce that our crowd favourite Cody Nordstrom whom initially narrowly missed out on NZ 20s selection has been called into the squad. He flew into camp this morning (June 17) to join his teammates," it says on Te Awamutu Sports Rugby Club's Instagram.
"We would like to congratulate Cody and his biggest fan Paula and the entire Nordstrom whānau on this fantastic news.
"Our coaching staff, management, committee and supporters are all behind you Cody.
"Nordstrom came to us and debuted last season as a young 17-year-old, fast forward the clock he is now a leader and a senior member of our premier side.
"Cody is a proud Taupō and King Country man and will represent his area and club Te Awamutu Sports well!"
Te Awamutu Sports head coach Travis Church says he is really proud of the growth in Cody both on and off the field.
"Cody is an example of a young man that didn't get the opportunities at 1st XV level but he used that disappointment as motivation to be the best version of himself.
"When Cody came to us two seasons ago he was a shy young man with a lot of talent but was lacking confidence. He made the most of his opportunities with us at TA Sports and soon became one of the most dangerous attacking wingers in the Waikato - this young man is driven to be better every day and deserves to be representing his country.
"I look forward to him bringing this experience back into our group in a few weeks time."
While Covid-19 has prevented the New Zealand Under 20 team assembling for international fixtures in recent years, the team departs for Australia later this month for matches against Fiji, Argentina and Australia in the Oceania Rugby Under 20 Championship.
The New Zealand Under 20s will be headed by former All Black Tom Donnelly, with assistant coaches Cory Jane and Scott Hansen.
The Bunnings Warehouse Super Rugby Under 20 tournament staged in Taūpo last month provided selectors an opportunity to see the breadth of talent and Donnelly said it was an incredibly difficult task narrowing the squad to 30 players.
The 30-man squad features players from across 11 of the provincial unions, ten of whom played in last year's Bunnings NPC.
Squad members George Bell (Crusaders), Seb Calder (Crusaders), Fabian Holland (Highlanders), Riley Higgins (Hurricanes) and Raymond Tuputupu (Hurricanes) all bring their experience to the side after making their DHL Super Rugby Pacific debuts earlier this year.
2022 Oceania Rugby Under 20 Championship:
New Zealand v Fiji – Friday, July 1. Kick-off 5pm at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
New Zealand v Argentina – Tuesday, July 5. Kick-off 2pm at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
New Zealand v Australia – Sunday, July 10. Kick-off 4pm at Sunshine Coast Stadium.