New Zealand and Argentina name their teams for Round 2 of TRC U20.

New Zealand U20 Head Coach Jono Gibbes has made seven changes to his starting XV for the team’s match against Argentina at the Rugby Championship Under 20 Tournament in Australia.

A new halves pairing of Dylan Pledger and Rico Simpson will guide the team around the field at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Tuesday 7 May in two of five changes to the backline that started in the 13-13 opening draw against South Africa.

Second five-eighth Tofuka Paongo comes into the midfield to partner vice captain Xavi Taele who moves out to centre, while King Maxwell takes his place on the right wing and Sam Coles at fullback.

In the forwards there are just two changes with Cam Christie coming in at lock and Matt Lowe at openside. Manumaua Letiu and Sika Pole also join the match day squad, with the two front rowers coming into the reserves.

The side is captained once again by hooker Vernon Bason who led the side to a tense 13-13 draw with South Africa in wet and windy conditions in the first match of the tournament.

New Zealand Under 20 squad to play Argentina 

1 Will Martin (Chiefs, Waikato)
2 Vernon Bason (Hurricanes, Manawatū) (c)
3 Joshua Smith (Hurricanes, Hawke’s Bay)
4 Cam Christie (Blues, North Harbour) 
5 Liam Jack (Crusaders, Canterbury)
6, Andrew Smith (Chiefs, Waikato)
7 Matt Lowe (Crusaders, Tasman)
8 Malachi Wrampling (Chiefs, Waikato)
9 Dylan Pledger (Highlanders, Otago)
10 Rico Simpson (Blues, Auckland)
11 Frank Vaenuku (Chiefs, Bay of Plenty)
12 Tofuka Paongo (Hurricanes, Wellington) 
13 Xavi Taele (Blues, Auckland) (vc)
14 King Maxwell (Blues, Auckland)
15 Sam Coles (Hurricanes, Manawatū)

16 Manumaua Letiu (Crusaders, Canterbury), 17 Sika Pole (Blues, Auckland), 18 Kurene Luamanuvae (Blues, Auckland), 19 Tom Allen (Hurricanes, Hawke’s Bay), 20 Johnny Lee (Crusaders, Canterbury), 21 Ben O’Donovan (Crusaders, Canterbury), 22 Cooper Grant (Crusaders, Tasman), 23 Josh Whaanga (Highlanders, Otago).

For the match against New Zealand, Los Pumitas coach Álvaro Galindo made nine changes to the starting lineup and seven changes to the substitute bench. Among the starters, the appearance of Estanislao Rodríguez, Agustín Sarelli, Tomás Medina and Gregorio Pérez Pardo stands out, who will have their debut in the tournament. Regarding the substitutes, Alejandro Barrios, Ignacio Torrado and Facundo Rodríguez had their first call-up within the 23. The only ones who maintain their place among the starting 15 are Juan Manuel Vivas, Efraín Elías, Juan Pedro Bernasconi, Tomás Di Biase, Tomás Bocco (goes from 13) and Benjamín Elizalde.

Carlos Mohapp, one of the coaches of the youth team, commented on how the team is doing, what they focused on during the week and the changes compared to the previous team: “The team is doing very well and eager to continue improving and growing as a team. The victory with Australia helps to work with good energy so the boys are eager to measure themselves, to compete and to live up to the competition."

"During the week we focused on fixed formations. Being increasingly solid in that point that was key in the previous game; a lot in the game with the foot because of the weather and for something that we also proposed. The issue of changes is because we have to expand the squad. The more players we have up to the task of these competitions, the more prepared we will be for the World Cup, knowing that this competition serves us well for that purpose."

“We want to see the players and evaluate their performance at this level of competition and be able to have a much clearer roster for June ahead of the World Rugby championships.”

Argentina Under 20 squad to play New Zealand

1.Estanislao Rodriguez
2. Juan Manual Vivas
3. Gael Galvan
4. Efrain Elias [c]
5. Luciano Asevedo
6. Julian Rossi
7. Agustin Sarelli
8. Juan Pedro Bernasconi
9. Tomas Di Biase
10. Mateo Fossati
11. Timoteo Silva
12. Tomas Medina
13. Tomas Bocco
14. Gregorio Perez Pardo
15. Benjamin Elizade [vc]

Replacements: 16. Marcos Camerlinckx, 17. Diego Correa, 18. Tomas Rapetti, 19. Michael Alejandro Barrios, 20. Ignacio Torrado, 21. Facundo Rodriguez, 22. Santino Di Lucca, 23. Franco Rossetto.