Ex-New Zealand U20 star a ‘genuine contender’ for Wales’ Rugby World Cup squad

 Credit: Alamy

Credit: Alamy

Taine Plumtree was a late addition to Wales’ Rugby World Cup training squad but he could well make the final selection, according to coach Jonathan Humphreys.

Plumtree, the son of current Sharks head coach John, was born in Swansea but grew up in New Zealand and started his professional career at Wellington.

He featured for the country’s age-grade side at the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship and then the Blues in Super Rugby.

Joining the Scarlets

In June, it was announced that the 23-year-old had signed for the Scarlets, making him eligible for Wales, and just a week later, the back-row was called into the squad.

“He’s a genuine contender, and hopefully, we’ll see him in these next three games,” said Humphreys.

“We haven’t brought him in just to gain experience. We’ve brought him in because we feel he can add something to us.”

Plumtree also offers something they don’t have in the squad, according to Humphreys, and that is real height and power.

“He’s a six, he’s a big man, and he’s very athletic as you’d expect from someone coming from New Zealand and got a very good rugby sense.”

“We are not blessed with people of that stature in that position. We looked at him, we liked what we saw, and he was keen to come over.”

Tough start

With Plumtree called into the squad while Wales were in the midst of their brutal training camp in Switzerland, it was a very difficult start.

The back-rower had to get up to speed quickly, and Humphreys was impressed with the youngster’s attitude.

“He’s impressed us. It was a tough introduction for him. He came off the plane jet-lagged from New Zealand, came to Switzerland, and the training was brutal over there. His first couple of sessions was an eye-opener.

“He stuck in, dug in, and he’s been great. He’s been impressive. It’s unbelievable with jet-lag and the altitude and heat and doing the tougher sessions, he’s suffered that. It was quite the welcoming for him.”

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The article Ex-New Zealand U20 star a ‘genuine contender’ for Wales’ Rugby World Cup squad appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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