New Zealand’s newest try-scoring ace emerges in U20 championship


The Sunshine Coast turned into a playground on May 2 when New Zealand and South Africa played out a nail-biting 13-13 draw in the Under-20 Rugby Championship.

Water splashed under the players' feet, and it took 53 minutes for the youngest player on the field to attempt a goal; New Zealand winger Stanley Solomon.

With his deceptive power and cunning elusiveness, the little Wellington flyer helped enliven the tough competition.

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Under-20 Rugby Championship: Highlights from the New Zealand-Argentina match

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On Sunday, Solomon scored two tries in the 36-25 win over Australia as the Baby Blacks claimed the inaugural Rugby Championship honours.

“I was the smallest player on almost every team I was on. That can be a good thing because people underestimate you and you can hurt them with your speed and footwork,” Solomon said. Rugby Pass.

“The Test match in South Africa was a great opportunity. You don't know what you're capable of until you test yourself and find out you're capable of it.

“We were very happy with the way things went in that match. We had planned to take them in the dry weather but when the rain came, we needed to kick more. We didn't get enough points with the wind in the first half, but we created a lot of chances to win and build relationships.” Stronger, which is encouraging.

These “links” were clearly against Australia. Despite receiving two yellow cards in the second half, New Zealand overcame a 25-19 deficit. Solomon had initially stunned the Australians with a 20-metre finish from a set piece and an interception as he made a 40-metre run.

“I'm really proud of the boys. The second half was tough with these cards, but our forwards really stepped up and denied them the ball at the end,” Solomon said.

“My tries in the first half were like being in the right place at the right time. My interception went to Jonny Lee. He has won more games for the Crusaders Under 20's in a week than the first team have won this season. What a champion.”

Being small sometimes means breaking Solomon. In the 75th minute against South Africa, he equalized through a wonderful intervention by Joshua Ball.

“Far away, I'm broken,” Solomon sighed.

“The idea with the crowd movement was to stay behind Rico Simpson and push wider into space but I saw a small gap and I was very anxious.

“All the players were staying in the same hotel, so I saw Josh a few times and he smiled at me. The South Africans, they're good guys. I'd never played for a South African team before. 'It's true what they say, they're really tough buggers.'

Solomon began his junior rugby career at the Wellington Axemen – the club where his parents, leading estate agents, Nigel Solomon and former Black Ferns mother Irene Rush, played.

He attended Wellington College and in the U15 final scored four tries with flying colors. Solomon joined the First

In 2021, Wellington have been rejuvenated under the coaching of former All Blacks Neemia Tialata (43 tests, 38 wins) and fullback Piri Weepu (2011 Rugby World Cup winner). Although Wellington did not reach the Super League final, they beat eventual champions St Patrick's College, Silverstream and Scottish College in the regular season.

Solomon kicked a last-gasp penalty in Scottish College's 18-17 win after Wellington were 12-0 down.

“I was the only one on the field who knew it was full-time. I asked the referee and he said: 'Time's up,' so I knew I had to take the kick. I looked up and he was drifting to the left, but he came back through it. It took me a few days to start to feel like we were We beat Scotland, it was great.

In his bid to win the annual Ken Gray Memorial Cup grudge match against St Patrick's College, Silverstream was better. Solomon exploded from his 22nd group in a wave that quickly spread.

“During that game, I didn't do much. I kicked it to one of my teammates, Kobe Joe Volu. He kicked it back to me and I slipped and lost my footing. I got up and was going to kick it, but I saw a little space and thought I'd try. I passed a couple of guys and saw the Silverstream center in front of me. I threw him a doll and luckily he took it.

“That was one of the best experiences I've ever had, with my whole school behind me cheering and screaming.

Wellington lost most of its attacking line in 2022 but Solomon led the team to the semi-finals where they lost 23-24 to St Patrick's College, Wellington. Solomon scored all the points, in every possible way, in an advanced training session in which he was selected for the New Zealand secondary schools team that beat the under-18s of Maori (27-24) and Fiji (67-15) in Hamilton.

Alongside his parents, Tialatha and Webo, Solomon saw Wellington College principal and former Tall Blacks basketball player (169 caps) Glen Denham as a key mentor.

“Mr Denham was fantastic for us. He helped us develop our supporters club and rang me several times when I needed him. He would say that when our rugby team wins, the school wins. He brought out the school spirit in all the codes which was fantastic.”

“During Covid, we weren't allowed on the school grounds for the football final, but that didn't stop us watching on a nearby hill. Xander Edwards scored a hat-trick and we beat Scotland 4-3. We all wanted to see each other succeed.”

Solomon joined Bettone in 2023 and scored 16 tries in 15 matches. Last year he scored four tries against Tawa and helped Bitoni win the annual McBain Shield grudge match against Hutt Old Boys Marist. Solomon won the Billy Wallace Best and Fairest when he was 18 years old.

Billy Wallace was a Jubilee Cup winner with Bonnicki in 1903 and 1909. He scored a record 246 points on the famous tour of the UK and France which saw him win 34 out of 35 matches. His total of 379 points for the All Blacks was a record for 50 years. In all matches recorded, Wallace scored 860 runs in 91 matches, which is a tremendous batting average for a lower scoring system.

'Billy Wallace' was introduced in 1966 and was won by All Blacks players Graham Williams, Ardi Savea, Alan Hewson and Bernie Fraser. Sulaiman received the award from his mother, after whom the Women's Equivalent Cup is named.

It was a complete shock and surprise when I got it from my mom. “The names on it are inspiring,” Solomon said.

“To be honest, I didn't know much about Billy Wallace. My dad told me some things that went in one ear and out the other, typical young men.

“It wasn't until I did some reading that I appreciated what a great man Billy Wallace was. When he died, he was 94, the oldest living All Black. The trophy sits by our front door. I'm really proud of that.” .

Solomon rates Dan Carter as his favorite player, but is also impressed by the play of Damian McKenzie. Suleiman studies commerce at Victoria University.





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