World Cup preparation has started for the New Zealand U20 rugby team. The 30-man squad assembled in Auckland today ahead of the 2015 Oceania Rugby Junior Championship in Australia next week.
Amongst the group is a youngster from Ngāi Tūhoe.
Santa has come early for these players. Otere Black says, "We're very lucky to get all this Adidas gear."
The blessings for Black doesn't end there. It's his first season playing for the Hurricanes development team, and this is his first selection for a New Zealand team.
“I'm so happy to be here, it's been a long time coming so I'm stoked and so is my family," says Black.
The U20 team will play against Japan, Samoa and Australia next week as solid preparation for the World Cup in Italy in June.
Black explains, “We're in Australia for ten days. We'll play three games in those ten days, very similar to the World Cup, not much rest and lots of games so it will be good for us.”
Falling short the last three years at the World Cup, Black and the team have only one intention.
“We want to win the World Cup but that starts now, we've got a big week ahead of us in Australia with some games but the main goal is the World Cup,” says Black.
Otere's hoping that his picture perfect year to date will continue with the U20s.