For the last 10 years, Australia has set the benchmark on and off the touch field. NZ touch will continue to focus on its current results with the aim to learn from this week's Youth Trans-Tasman Series. NZ Touch's plans to make an impact at the 2019 World Cup in Malaysia is are already underway.
This week's results are reflective on how the NZ touch programme has grown.
Whitiaua Black, Ngāi Tuhoe, Te Whānau-a-Apanui says, “I've heard that they have around two or three mid-year camps then they come over to play us. We on the other hand, have only a three-day training camp then. That just shows they are at an advantage right from the start.”
Joe Sprangers, Chief Executive New Zealand Touch says, “It's a talent ID process giving the players the opportunity at the next highest level possible against the other best playing nation in the world. This is a direct leading in for us to the 2019 World Cup.
NZ's performance has shown the gap in results is closing. NZ has become competitive in almost every game.
This year players with a kiwi connection featured in many Australian teams. These players will have the opportunity to pledge allegiance to NZ in years to come.
The Open Men's head coach Whitiaua Black who took on the role as head coach of the U18s boys, welcomes any players wanting to play for NZ including the Berryman cousins who with Australia's U18s girls took out their division this year.
Black says, “If they have New Zealand blood in them and want to don the black singlet, it's only right to welcome them, however they must come back for training sessions with the team.”
Sprangers says, “He is able to assess their progression as they are coming though the structure but he is also able to be a part of the coaching team and impart on them the knowledge that he has and as one of our top coaches will need them to be able to do when they get into the top teams.”
A group of NZ touch representatives will fly to Malaysia in May in reconnaissance for the venue and area were the World Cup will take place in two years' time.