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Poirewa Aotearoa (Volleyball New Zealand) confirmed on Friday the New Zealand Men’s Junior squad will face Australia in the playoff for the Asian Men’s 20 Championship later this year.

The New Zealand U20 volleyball squad, led by Head Coach Ben Laing, will travel to Australia for a three-test series in early June to determine the Oceania representative at the Asian Championship in Indonesia in July.

As part of their preparation for the playoff, the squad will compete in the senior men’s competition at the upcoming Inter-Provincial Championships in Wellington, June 1-3. 

The squad is made up of players from five Regional Associations with Bay of Plenty (five) and Canterbury (four), contributing heavily to the mix of players. WECA, Tasman and Otago are also represented.

The squad includes Thomas Vesty, currently in action in the Asian U19 Beach Volleyball Championships in Thailand.

Laing is relishing the chance the group have to make an impact, first against their trans-Tasman rivals and then potentially at the Asian Championships for the first time since 2018.

“Having worked with many of these boys for a number of years and watching them develop in our best domestic competitive environments, the prospect of giving them a true test in taking on the Australian side fills me with a lot of anticipation and excitement, “Laing said.

This is a special group of young men and the opportunity to stand with them as we move on to a world stage is a real honour.”

Laing says his side have a blend of attributes that can serve them well against Australia – both on and off court.

“We have managed to build a squad that combines balance, patience, and rhythm, along with the ability to be flexible and adapt quickly to the game as it progresses.

“We anticipate lots of size and power from the Australians along with their trademark grit at the defensive end, so ensuring our boys can remain focused and trust in our style and strengths will be key to achieving success in this series.”

New Zealand Men’s U20 – Asian Championship Oceania Playoff v Australia
June 8-10
Canberra, Australia

Squad (2023 Regional Association representation is noted)

Daniel Hitchens – Middle (Bay of Plenty)
Jamie Julian – Libero (Bay of Plenty)
Ari Leckie – Libero (Canterbury)
Daniel Malcolm – Middle (Canterbury)
Jobe Mcauley – Opposite (Tasman)
Luke McIntosh – Middle (Canterbury)
Michael Tyler – Outside (WECA)
Netana Samia – Setter (Bay of Plenty)
Noah Smith – Outside (Otago)
Calum Stewart – Outside (Bay of Plenty)
Thomas Vesty – Setter (Canterbury)
Kameo Wagner  – Setter (Bay of Plenty)

Management staff
Ben Laing – Head Coach
Brieana Crosbie – Assistant Coach/Manager
Des Kerekere – Referee


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