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16 year old Lea'fa makes Tall Blacks 19 Jul 2013

Marc Hinton - Fairfax Media

Sixteen-year-old Wellington schoolboy Izayah Mauriohooho Le'afa is the bolter in Nenad Vucinic's 13-strong Tall Blacks squad to tour China.

Mauriohooho Le'afa, son of long-time Saints point guard George Le'afa, only attended the trials in Auckland as a last-minute addition on the advice of Tall Blacks assistant coach Pero Cameron, but has made the touring group which leaves on Monday after veteran Lindsay Tait was ruled out with injury.

Mauriohooho Le'afa is one of two schoolboys, three teenagers and four newcomers in the touring squad, missing a raft of unavailable frontline players, including starting centre Alex Pledger who has pulled out for "personal" reasons.

The other new faces are 17-year-old Auckland schoolboy Jack Salt, 18-year-old Breakers squad member Reuben Te Rangi and 22-year-old Nelson Giant Brook Ruscoe.

Te Rangi's selection caps a meteoric rise over the last year from Junior Tall Blacks captain to Breakers development player, an NBL title with the Southland Sharks, a full Breakers contract, and now the national men's side.

Ruscoe was a 2010 Junior Tall Black and has played in the last two NBL finals, winning a 2012 title with the Auckland Pirates and finishing runner-up with Nelson Giants last weekend.

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