Preview: Junior ABs v Samoa

Flanker Marty Holah will captain a strong Junior All Blacks side against Samoa in the team’s opening IRB Pacific Nations Cup match in Apia, Samoa on Saturday.

Ten former All Blacks are in the starting line-up for the Junior All Blacks’ tournament opener.

Co-Coach Colin Cooper said it was important for the Junior All Blacks to get the campaign off to a good start.

“There is no doubt that this match will be a challenge for us but it is important that we set the high standards we have for this team. The Junior All Blacks are New Zealand’s second national team and we are focused on fulfilling the expectations that come with the name,” Cooper said.

“As for Samoa, we are familiar with many of their players and they will be a challenging side, especially in conditions that they are used to,” he added.

Tone Kopelani has replaced Corey Flynn at hooker – Flynn is on parental leave and centre Tane Tu’ipulotu has replaced Ma’a Nonu, who has joined the All Blacks squad.

Daniel Braid has been bracketed with Tu’ipulotu on the bench. A final decision will be made before the match.

Junior All Blacks: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Stephen Brett, 11 Scott Hamilton, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Mose Tuiali’i, 7 Marty Holah (c), 6 Kieran Read, 5 Greg Rawlinson, 4 Hoani MacDonald, 3 John Afoa, 2 Derren Witcombe, 1 Clarke Dermody
Replacements: 16 Tone Kopelani, 17 Campbell Johnstone, 18 Ross Filipo, 19 Jerome Kaino, 20 Andrew Ellis, 21 Anthony Tuitavake, 22 Daniel Braid / Tane Tu’ipulotu

Samoa: tbc

Date: 26 May 2007
Venue: Apia, Samoa
Kick-off: 15.00
Referee: James Leckie (Australia)
Touch judges: James Bolabiu (Fiji), tba (Samoa)


365 Digital

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