The St George Illawarra Dragons will have two players involved in the NZ Tu squad for the upcoming NZRL U18 Taurahere Camp at Runaway Bay on Saturday, July 3.
Illawarra Steelers SG Ball duo Steven Marsters and Joshua Uta are part of a 19-man NSW-based squad named by Head Coaches Ezra Howe and Rangi Hiroti for the three-day camp.
The “Tu” squad, drawn from the Maori word meaning “stand up” for the upcoming camp, will compete against Queensland-based players who make up the 'Toa' gorup, referring to “strength”.
Tu (NSW) are so named because they were the first team to “stand up” as part of the Taurahere programme, visiting New Zealand to face the NZ Residents U18 in a two-game series two years ago.
The three-day camp will culminate in a trial game on the final day, with a merit team named the following week.
Many of the invited players, particularly in the Tu squad, have come through the NZ domestic pathway and are now contracted with NRL clubs or attend schools across the Tasman Sea. For them, this will be a way to stay engaged with the national team programme, until they are selected for Junior Kiwis and Kiwis.
Others, though, have been born in Australia or have moved there while still young.
These players are also eligible for State of Origin and Australian national teams, and must eventually choose which nationality to honour.