"New Zealand U20s Capped" - Taine Plumtree Called Up Into Wales Training Squad - Ruck

“New Zealand U20s Capped” – Taine Plumtree Called Up Into Wales Training Squad

Warren Gatland has unveiled the latest player to be called up into the Wales wider training squad, as preparations continue for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

23-year-old back-rower Taine Plumtree joined up with his new teammates at Heathrow Airport, before flying out to their new training camp in Switzerland. Plumtree arrives after finishing up the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season with the Blues, as the Auckland side finished runners-up to the Crusaders in an All-New Zealand Final.

A product of the New Zealand rugby system, Plumtree was born in Swansea, but made his rugby breakthrough with Wellington in the National Provincial Championship. At 6ft 5″, the towering forward can also play as a lock, with this versatility taking him to make five appearances for the New Zealand U20s in 2019.

Taine is the son of John Plumtree, a renowned South Africa Sevens international and former Assistant Coach of the All Blacks. Taine Plumtree recently completed a move to the Scarlets ahead of the 2023/24 URC season, and he is eligible to play for Wales, due to being uncapped by New Zealand at senior level.

Head coach Warren Gatland said to the Wales Rugby website: “We’ve called up Taine Plumtree to the squad to give him an opportunity. I spoke to Taine about three weeks ago about the possibility; he was in discussions with the Scarlets about signing for them.

“He seemed pretty excited. He’s born in Swansea, has come through the New Zealand system and also eligible for South Africa as well with a South African mum.

“For us, given that we’ve had Josh Macleod pull out of the squad due to injury, some players unavailable and Taulupe Faletau has picked up a bit of an injury, we thought it was a great opportunity for Taine to come in.

“He’s a six foot five back-row forward, we don’t have a lot of those here in Wales. He’s 23, whether he makes the world cup squad or not he’s definitely a player we want to keep in mind for the future.

“Potentially that’s later down the track with the Six Nations, but he gets a chance to come in and we just know how excited he is to get the opportunity to come in and take that chance with us out in Switzerland.”

Following the training camp in Switzerland the squad will have a training camp in Turkey, running from the 23rd to 31st of July. Wales then have three Summer Series Test matches against England (home and away on 5th and 12th of August) and South Africa (19th August at Principality Stadium) before the official 33-player squad to head to Rugby World Cup 2023 in France is named.