SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ
Tima Faingaanuku, shown here in action against Waikato last season, is one of two Tasman players named in the New Zealand Under-20 squad.
Rising Tasman Makos winger Tima Faingaanuku is now within reach of his World Cup dream following his selection in the New Zealand team to contest next month's Oceania Under-20 rugby tournament in Australia.
Faingaanuku is joined by new Tasman signing, Will Jordan, as the union's two selections in the New Zealand side for the Gold Coast tournament which starts on April 28. New Zealand will play tests against Fiji on April 28, Samoa on May 2 and Australia on May 6. All matches will be played at Bond University.
Former Christchurch Boys' High School First XV star Jordan signed a two-year contract with Tasman earlier this year but will remain in Christchurch until June and will feature in the second half of the club rugby season for a team in either Nelson or Marlborough.
Faingaanuku was selected for last year's Tasman Makos national provincial championship rugby squad in just his first year out of college, having been a star performer at fullback with the Nelson College First XV.
In 2015 he represented the Crusaders Knights and Tasman under-18 teams and was selected in last year's Tasman men's sevens squad for the national tournament in Rotorua.
Jordan is a strong running fullback and was a standout performer for the Christchurch BHS First XV in 2015, scoring 19 tries in 11 games to finish the UC Championship as the competition's leading try-scorer. He's also a member of the Crusaders Knights development team.
However, selection for the Oceania tournament doesn't guarantee a ticket to Georgia for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in June, with that final squad due to be named in May after the Oceania squad returns to New Zealand. Tasman lock Quinten Strange was a member of last year's New Zealand World Cup squad.
New Zealand Under-20 head coach Craig Philpott said that he was pleased with the talent available.
"This is a very experienced squad we are taking to the Oceania under-20s," Philpott said.
"Thirteen players have been in the Under-20 environment before and nine played in last year's World Championship in Manchester. That previous experience of an international competition will come in valuable on the Gold Coast.
"Up to this point we have had 50-odd players at our previous training camps and we had to make some tough calls to whittle the squad down to 30. The camps highlighted we have good depth in most positions, and selections were particularly competitive in the loose forwards and outside backs, where a number of players will feel rightfully disappointed that they didn't make the squad."
Tasman's Isaiah Miller was also among the triallists.
"Oceania provides us a great opportunity to prepare for the Under-20 World Championship in Georgia in June, especially because both tournaments follow the same format. We will play three test matches in the space of 12 days, which is something many of the players won't be used to.
"It is also an opportunity to get together as a team and get to know each other better, play and train together in a tournament environment and develop our team culture."