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Burnell Names Wales Under 19 Team To Play NZ

3rd April 2007

Wales will kick-off the IRB Under 19 World Championships in Belfast against New Zealand on Thursday (kick-off 5.30pm) with head coach Justin Burnell claiming the match is "crucial for the development of the game in Wales."

Burnell used three warm-up games - against Ireland, France and Cardiff RFC - to finely tune his side ahead of this crucial game.

"This team is made up of our best players picked on current form," said Burnell who is also Blues academy manager and Cardiff RFC head coach.

"This opening game against New Zealand is a fantastic opportunity to test ourselves against the best in the world at age group level.

"It is a crucial game for us - if we don't come away with at least a bonus point, it will be very difficult to progress into the top four which is where we want to be.

"We are going into the unknown with regards the opposition but we know that there is no such thing as a bad New Zealand team - at whatever level.

"We know that our academy system is producing players who are bigger, fitter and stronger than ever before but it is only when you play the best nations in the world that you get a real measure of where we are in the world game."

There are four players in the starting line-up from the Blues region, including captain Sam Warburton. The game will be televised by BBC 2 Northern Ireland and available to viewers in the UK behind the red button or on the BBC NI channel.

Wales Under 19 v New Zealand
Daniel Evans (Scarlets); Jimmy Norris (Dragons), Luke Ford (Blues), Rhys Williams (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Ospreys); Gareth Owen (Ospreys), Rhys Webb (Ospreys); Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Huw Dowden (Blues), Patrick Palmer (Blues), Nathan White (Ospreys), Josh Turnbull (Scarlets), Sam Warburton (capt, Blues), Nicholas Cudd (Scarlets), Lloyd Phillips (Scarlets).

Replacements (from): Ben Roberts (Dragons), Lloyd Elliott (Ospreys), Phillip Price (Ospreys), Haydn Pugh (Scarlets), Jevon Groves (Blues), Jonathan Griffiths (Ospreys), Gareth Williams (Blues), David Langdon (Dragons), Tom Williams (Ospreys), Nicholas Harwood (Ospreys), James Egan (Blues)