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New Zealand U20 make seven changes ahead of the decisive match between Australia U20 and O20

Head coach Jono Gibbes has made seven changes to the New Zealand U20 squad that defeated Argentina on Tuesday, with the Baby Blacks shifting their focus to a decisive match this weekend.

New Zealand will win the inaugural U20 Rugby Championship if they beat traditional rivals Australia on Sunday. It is the last match of the tournament on the Sunshine Coast in Australia.

While the Junior Wallabies have made some high-profile moves of their own, including the selection of Harry McLaughlin-Phillips at number 10, the Kiwis have done exactly the same.

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Following their 13-all draw against South Africa in the tournament opener and 43-20 win over Argentina, the coaching staff have made a handful of changes to the starting squad.

Blues U20 captain Tristyn Cook and Jeremiah Avei-Collins have been named to make their tournament debuts. Cook will start on the flanker on the blind side, while Avei-Collins will provide impact from the den.

Hurricanes and Hawke’s Bay lock Tom Allen comes into the run-on side, with flanker Johnny Lee also earning promotion as New Zealand’s third and final change to the forward line.

Wing Stanely Solomona and fullback Isaac Hutchinson, who both impressed in the draw with the Junior Springboks, also returned to the First XV in their usual positions.

Captain Vernon Bason will captain again as they take on a “pretty sharp” Junior Wallabies outfit.

“I know they are quite disappointed with their result against Argentina in the first match, but if you look a little deeper into their game, they are a sharp team,” said assistant coach Jarrad Hohepa. RugbyPass earlier this week.

“They are very well organized and also have some good attacking attacks on the flanks. We expect quite a big battle.

“I think if they win they can win the title too, so it’s all to play for.”

New Zealand U20 takes on Australia U20

1. Will Martin

2. Vernon Bason (c)

3. Joshua Smith

4.Tom Allen

5. Liam Jack

6. Tristyn Kok

7.Johnny Lee

8. Malachi Wrestle

9. Dylan Pledger

10. Rico Simpson

11. Stanley Solomon

12. Tofuka Paongo

13. Xavi Taele

14. King Maxwell

15. Isaac Hutchinson


16. Manumaua Letiu

17. Sika Pole

18. Kurene Luamanuvae

19.Andrew Smith

20. Jeremiah Avei-Collins

21. Ben O’Donovan

22. Sam Coles

23. Aki Tuivailala