The Class of 2011 – New Zealand’s Junior World Cup winners

In 2011 New Zealand won the Junior World Cup for the fourth consecutive time or fifth if you include the previous U19 version. They were the best players of their age group, let’s see how they coped in the big wide world against all comers.

1 Solomona Sakalia – Bay of Plenty

In 2012 made his ITM Cup début for Wellington picking up 5 caps. In 2013 got called up to the Chiefs Super Rugby squad but didn’t make any appearances. Also moved to Bay of Plenty in 2013 where he is still playing in the second tier of the ITM cup.

Still playing rugby, so far has not broken into the top level of domestic rugby but at 23 there is still a chance.

2 Codie Taylor – Crusaders

Broke into the Canterbury ITM Cup side in 2012 and is still with the province. Got promoted int the Crusaders squad in 2013 and off the back of his 5 appearances got to tour Japan with the Māori All Blacks making two appearances.

Looks to be developing well at Crusaders and with Corey Flynn moving to Toulouse will be hopeing for more game time this season.

3 Ben Tameifuna – Chiefs

Ben had already turned out of Hawke’s Bay in 2011 and in 2012 got called up to the Chiefs, racking up 50 caps over the last 3 years. He was also called up to the All Blacks training squad for the series against Ireland but has not been capped so far. 2013 saw him change club sides to Waikato but he has only turned out 12 times in 2 years. There are rumours circulating of a move to France for next season.

Making a name of himself and not only as the biggest player in the All Blacks training squad.

4 Steven Luatua – Blues

This was Steven’s second Junior World Cup and he was playing for the Auckland senior side in 2011. In 2012 was called up to the Blues and has 36 caps at Super Rugby level. 2013 saw him called up to the All Blacks squad and so far he has 14 caps to his name. Didn’t go on the end of year tour to Europe but will be hoping to make the squad for the world cup. Currently out of contract after the World Cup but has hinted he would like to stay in New Zealand.

Forging a successful career at the top of the game.

5 Brodie Retallick – Chiefs

World player of the year in 2014, I’m guessing most people know how he is getting on. Originally with Hawk’s Bay in 2011 and moved to Bay of Plenty in 2012 he has played little ITM Cup games. Most of his rugby has been with the Chiefs and All Blacks, both sides he made his first appearances for in 2012. Already has 51 caps for the Chiefs and 35 for the All Blacks.

The only questions are, will he stay free of injury and if so where will he be ranked among the great All Black locks?

6 Brad Shields – Hurricanes

Brad had already turned out for Wellington in 2010 and has been there ever since racking up 36 caps. In 2012 he made his début for the Hurricanes and has gone on to pick up 35 caps. Included in the Hurricanes squad for the coming Super Rugby season.

Developing well down in Wellington and forging a solid Super Rugby career.

7 Sam Cane – Chiefs

Had already turned out for Bay of Plenty in 2010 but is another that has relatively few caps at the ITM level with only 17. Surprisingly he has more points than caps with 25. Most of his career has been at Super Rugby and International level. With 50 caps for the Chiefs since 2011 and 23 for New Zealand, he is the reason Kiwis can see that there is life after Sir Richie.

Is Richie McCaw’s natural successor for the All Black 7 shirt and has a big future if he can stay clear of serious injury.

8 Luke Whitelock – Crusaders

This was Luke’s second Junior World Cup and he is only of 4 brothers to play for the Crusaders. In 2011 he broke into the Canterbury ITM side and a year later the Crusaders. Has racked up 42 caps over the last 3 years in a period when Kieran Read has owned the number 8 shirt at clubbing country level. Picked up his solitary cap for the All Blacks in 2013 against Japan in their end of year tour.

Building a solid career at Super Rugby level and if he doesn’t breaking the All Black setup after the world cup will probably follow 2 of his brothers overseas.

9 TJ Perenara – Hurricanes

Had already made his first appearance for Wellington in the ITM Cup in 2010 and is another who hasn’t featured much at this level with only 16 cap. Was called up into the Hurricanes in 2012 and has racked up 45 caps and amazingly 95 points. Established himself as part of the All Blacks setup in 2014 has got 11 caps so far.

Has extended his contract to 2016 and has a bright future a head of him.

10 Gareth Anscombe – Cardiff Blues

Was already playing ITM level rugby with Auckland in 2010 and stayed with them until 2014 when he moved overseas to Cardiff. In 2012 he broke into the Blues Super Rugby side playing 10 games. When John Kirwan took over as coach he delisted Anscombe. Anscombe moved down the road to the Chiefs and even being behind Aaron Cruden picked up 27 caps. Qualifying for Wales through his mother Anscombe moved to Cardiff to pursue an international career.

Was targeted by Gatland the Welsh coach and is already in the national squad for the 6 nations. It’s early days but appears to be settling into Wales well and time will tell how far he goes.

11 Charles Piutau – Blues

Represented Tonga in the 2010 Junior World Cup before being selected for New Zealand in the 2011 Junior World Cup. Like Anscombe had already turned out for Auckland in the ITM Cup in 2010. Was selected for the New Zealand 7s side in 2011 but I can’t find any mention of which tournaments he played. Since 2012 has been part of the Blues Super Rugby side and gained hie first All Black cap in 2013. Has become an established member of the All Blacks squad, if not first choice, with 14 caps.

Developing well at the Blues and time will tell how many caps he picks up.

12 Lima Sopoaga – Highlanders

Lima is another to make his IMT Cup début in 2010 prior to the Junior World Cup. Originally paying for Wellington picking up 36 cap he moved to Southland in 2014 where he added a further 10. He has also been playing for the Highlanders since 2011 picking up 31 caps in what has been a injury interrupted carrier. Whilst he played inside centre at the Junior World Cup is considered more of a fly half.

Forging a solid senior career, he will probably struggle to break into the international scene anytime soon with so many good fly halves playing for New Zealand currently.

13 Francis Saili – Blues

Got his first senior start in 2011 for Auckland before moving across the bridge to North Harbour for 2 seasons. Last season he moved back south and represented Auckland in the ITM. Over all he has 29 caps at ITM level and nearly as many for the Blues with 28 at Super Rugby. Made is Blues début in 2012 and has been there ever since.

Building a solid senior career and time will tell how far he can go.

14 Mitchell Scott – Western Force

Made his début for Tasman in 2011 and was called into the wider training squad for the Crusaders in 2012. Scott didn’t make any appearances for the Crusaders as he lost the whole season to injury. Made a successful returned in 2013 to play for Tasman and by the end of 2014 had 30 caps. Has made the move over the Tasman to play for Western Force in this years Super Rugby competition.

Injury has slowed his progress but appears to be back on track progressing his career well.

15 Beauden Barrett – Hurricanes

Another to have already had ITM Cup experience prior to the Junior World Cup having started for Taranaki in 2010. The Hurricanes came calling in 2011 and over the last 4 years has racked up 52 caps. Beauden’s international début came in 2012 against Ireland and has bene battling for the number 10 shirt with Cruden, Carter and Salde ever since. 28 All Blacks caps to his name so far and he will be hoping to go to the World Cup.

An established All Black only time will tell how many caps he managers to rack up.

16 Sefo Setefano – ???

Sefo was the only player not to make it onto the pitch in the final. It’s hard to find information on Sefo, he was with Waikato and had a drink driving issue back in 2011. He was part of the Chiefs training squad at the tim as well. What has happened since I don’t know.

Looks like he hasn’t made it in rugby and we can just hope he’s doing well.

17 Michael Kainga (R) – Bay of Plenty

Made his senior début for Bay of Plenty in 2012 and has been there ever since gaining 18 caps. In 2013 got called up to play for the Chiefs making 3 appearances in Super Rugby. Didn’t get to play Super Rugby in 2014 but has been included as part of the wider training quad for the Hurricanes this season.

Slowly progressing but needs to break through soon, even if props can take longer to mature.

18 Dominic Bird (R) – Crusaders

Made his ITM Cup début in 2011 for Canterbury where he is still registered. Broke into the Crusaders side in 2013 and off the back of good performances got called up for the end of year tour. Appeared against Japan and then on the end of year tour in 2014 got his second cap against Scotland. Along side his 2 All Blacks caps he has racked up 26 appearances for the Crusaders.

Developing well with the Crusaders and only time will tell how far he can go.

19 Carl Axtens (R) – Bay of Plenty

Carl is with the Bay of Plenty which is the province he was with during the Junior World Cup back in 2011. I have not been able to find out what he has been doing in-between but he was part of the wider training group of the Chiefs last season. Doesn’t appear to be in any of the training groups this year.

Looks like he is still in rugby but finding it difficult to break into the top level.

20 Brad Weber (R) – Chiefs

Made his senior début for Otago in 2012 picking up 9 caps before moving to Waikato the following season. In 2014 got called up to the Chiefs and made 7 appearances at Super Rugby level. Is back with the Chiefs for another season this year.

Progressing steadily and build a solid senior career.

21 Rhys Llewellyn (R) – ???

I can’t find anything on Rhys except that he was from the Canterbury province when playing at the Junior World Cup

Looks like he hasn’t made it in rugby and we can just hope he’s doing well.

22 Waisake Naholo (R) – Highlanders

Originally from Wanganui who play in the Heartland Championship he moved to Taranki in 2011 where he has gained 31 caps. In 2012 got included in the wider training group for the Hurricanes and was called up to the New Zealand 7s side where he appeared in 5 tournaments. In 2013 got a Super Rugby contract with the Blues making 2 appearances but missed out on a contract in 2014. This year is with the Highlanders for the Super Rugby competition.

Developing well if slower than others and time will tell how he progresses.

Here are links to my other pieces on Junior World Cup winning teams:

The Class of 2012 – South Africa’s Junior World Cup Winners
The Class of 2013 – England’s Junior World Cup Winners

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