Mark Anscombe has been handed the unenviable task of trying to continue New Zealand's dominance of the IRB Junior World Championship at the 2011 tournament in Italy after being named as the new Under 20 coach.
Anscombe takes over from Dave Rennie, who oversaw all three of the Baby Blacks' titles, the most recent secured with a sublime display of rugby to see off Australia 62-17 in Argentina, one the Manawatu coach described afterwards as "pretty close” to a perfect performance.
Currently coaching Auckland in the ITM Cup, Anscombe has been part of the New Zealand Under 20 management team for all three Junior World Championship triumphs, the last two as assistant coach to Rennie.
Anscombe will have Chris Boyd, the former Sharks and Wellington assistant coach, as his number two as they attempt to extend New Zealand's 15-match unbeaten run since the Junior World Championship began in 2008.
“Mark has been involved in three very successful campaigns and we saw him as a natural fit to step up into the head coach role," said Neil Sorensen, the NZRU General Manager of Professional Rugby.
“The team, under the guidance of Dave and Mark, have become one of our most successful teams and I am sure that Mark and Chris will continue in achieving the same high standards.”
The Junior World Championship winning teams of the last three years have to date seen three players graduate to the All Blacks - 2008 forward Sam Whitelock, 2008 and 2009 wing Zac Guildford and the 2009 winning captain Aaron Cruden.
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