The next generation of New Zealand rugby stars have been identified and selected for the 2020 New Zealand Barbarians Under 18 Regional Development Camps.
A revitalised schools’ programme sees the expansion to five regional camps across the country, capturing more players than ever before.
New Zealand Rugby’s (NZR) High Performance Player Development Manager Matt Sexton said the ability to expand development opportunities for more players has been a great outcome.
“The disruption brought upon by Covid-19 actually gave us the chance to step back and think strategically about how to improve our connection at this age group. We hope these camps will be a positive experience for young players who had their 1st XV season interrupted in 2020.
“We are incredibly thankful to the support of the New Zealand Barbarians and New Zealand Schools Rugby Union for coming on board to support this programme and to the great work our talent identification network has done in finding this group of young players,” said Sexton.
Camps will be hosted in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin with 250 players attend across the five regions. Facilitated by NZR, Super Rugby and Provincial Union staff, school boy and girl players from both 15s and sevens programmes have been included and will assemble on September 28.
The aim is that the players will walk away from these camps with a clear picture as to what their pathway is and what they need to do to achieve their goals.
“The inclusion of schoolgirl players for the first time is recognition of the continual growth in the women’s game and the impressive talent we have seen across the country,” said Sexton.
At the conclusion of the week-long camp, 50 boys players will assemble as two squads in Hamilton. Mark Hammett and Tom Coventry will lead the sides as they prepare for a one-off fixture on October 9.
“Once again it is fantastic to have Super Rugby level coaches leading these teams, their knowledge and experience is invaluable for young players.”