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Thread: Australia U20 World Championship Squad

  1. #1
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    Australia U20 World Championship Squad

    Six new faces in Nathan Grey's Australia U20 World Championship squad

    Tue, Jun 11, 2024, 9:00 AM
    Lachlan Grey


    Australia U20 head coach Nathan Grey has named six fresh faces in his 30-man squad to contest the upcoming World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa.

    Australia face Georgia, Ireland and Italy in Pool B and Grey hasn't shied away from sweeping changes in a bid to improve last year's fifth-placed finish in Cape Town.

    Watch Australia U20 in action during the U20 World Championships LIVE and exclusive on Stan Sport.

    ACT's Kadin Pritchard (outside back) and Dan Nelson (scrumhalf) have been brought in alongside NSW trio Oniti Finau (hooker), Joe Dillon (flyhalf) and Archie Saunders (winger) with Queensland's Trevor King (prop) also returning in a new-look 30-man squad.

    King was a member of last year's U20 World Championship tilt while Saunders' inclusion is set to turn heads with the young winger clocked around 10.3 seconds over 100 metres.

    Reds playmaker Harry McLaughlin-Phillips adds firepower to the squad after being called into TRC U20 at the eleventh hour with lock Toby Macpherson and Brumbies stablemate Nelson named captain and vice captain respectively.

    Forward duo Dom Thygesen and Eamon Doyle also hold onto their berths after entering last month's tournament as injury cover.

    "We've selected an exciting group of players who have been delivering impressive performances for their club sides over the last few weeks," Grey said.

    "The opportunity for these young men to now come together and represent Australia on the world stage is truly special.

    "What awaits us in Cape Town is a formidable challenge, starting with our three pool opponents in Georgia, Italy and Ireland.

    "However we're prepared and ready to embrace that challenge."

    Grey's coaching team has been bolstered by the inclusion of former Wallaby backrowers Matt Cockbain and Ben Mowen, who will take over the forwards portfolio with Laurie Fisher joining Joe Schmidt's Wallabies.

    Australia U20 World Championship Squad

    ACT Brumbies


    Tevita Alatini - Gungahlin Eagles
    Harvey Cordukes - Uni-Norths Owls
    Toby Macpherson – Uni-Norths Owls
    Jarrah McLeod – Canberra Royals
    Dan Nelson – Canberra Royals
    Angus Staniforth – Canberra Royals
    Shane Wilcox - Tuggeranong Vikings
    Jack Harley - Gungahlin Eagles
    Lington Ieli - Tuggeranong Vikings
    Kadin Pritchard - Gungahlin Eagles

    Western Force

    Boston Fakafanua - Sydney University
    Ronan Leahy - Sydney University
    Dane Sawers – Kalamunda Districts Rugby Union Club

    Melbourne Rebels

    Ottavio Tuipulotu - Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club

    Australia Sevens

    Aden Ekanayake – Gordon Rugby Club

    Queensland Reds

    Nick Bloomfield – Easts Rugby Club
    Frankie Goldsbrough - Easts Brisbane
    Trevor King – Souths Rugby Club Brisbane
    Harry McLaughlin-Phillips – Souths Rugby Club Brisbane
    Dominic Thygesen - Souths Rugby Club Brisbane
    William McCulloch - Norths Brisbane

    NSW Waratahs

    Jack Barrett – Randwick Rugby Club
    Ben Di Staso – Eastern Suburbs
    Bryn Edwards - Sydney University
    Ollie McCrea – Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club
    Archie Saunders – Warringah Rugby Club
    Eamon Doyle - Sydney University
    Hwi Sharples - Sydney University
    Joe Dillon - Manly Marlins
    Oniti Finau - Randwick Rugby Club

    Commiserations to Doug Philipson, Kauri Tipene-Grace and AJ Preketes who had all been in the mix previously. I think Philipson particularly could think himself unlucky.

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    Force trio named in Australia's World Rugby U20 Championship squad

    Tue, Jun 11, 2024, 8:01 AM
    Ben Somerford


    Fortescue Western Force Academy trio Boston Fakafanua, Ronan Leahy and Dane Sawers have earned selection for Australia at the upcoming World Rugby U20 Championships.

    The trio were all part of Australia’s recent campaign in the U20 Rugby Championship on the Sunshine Coast, where Leahy was the side’s vice-captain.

    Selection has now been finalized for the upcoming tournament in South Africa which runs from June 29 to July 19. The 30 players will assemble in Sydney next week to finalise preparations before departing for Cape Town.

    Australia is grouped with Georgia, Italy and Ireland, with the side’s opening game against Georgia in Cape Town on June 29.

    The call-up comes after UWA and Sydney University winger Leahy made his Super Rugby Pacific debut in Round 14, having been named in the U20 Rugby Championship Team of the Tournament last month.

    Fakafanua, who has returned to play NSW Shute Shield with Sydney Uni, and Kalamunda back-rower Sawers also impressed in their recent spell with the Australia U20s.

    Australia U20 head coach Nathan Grey said: "We've selected an exciting group of players who have been delivering impressive performances for their club sides over the last few weeks.

    "The opportunity for these young men to now come together and represent Australia on the world stage is truly special.

    "What awaits us in Cape Town is a formidable challenge, starting with our three pool opponents in Georgia, Italy and Ireland. However we're prepared and ready to embrace that challenge."

    The full draw for the tournament is available here. https://www.world.rugby/tournaments/u20/championship

    Australia U20 Championship Squad:

    Western Force


    Boston Fakafanua - Sydney University

    Ronan Leahy - Sydney University

    Dane Sawers – Kalamunda Districts Rugby Union Club

    ACT Brumbies

    Tevita Alatini - Gungahlin Eagles

    Harvey Cordukes - Uni-Norths Owls

    Toby Macpherson – Uni-Norths Owls

    Jarrah McLeod – Canberra Royals

    Dan Nelson – Canberra Royals

    Angus Staniforth – Canberra Royals

    Shane Wilcox - Tuggeranong Vikings

    Jack Harley - Gungahlin Eagles

    Lington Ieli - Tuggeranong Vikings

    Kadin Pritchard - Gungahlin Eagles

    Melbourne Rebels

    Ottavio Tuipulotu - Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club

    Australian Sevens

    Aden Ekanayake – Gordon Rugby Club

    Queensland Reds

    Nick Bloomfield – Easts Rugby Club

    Frankie Goldsbrough - Easts Brisbane

    Trevor King – Souths Rugby Club Brisbane

    Harry McLaughlin-Phillips – Souths Rugby Club Brisbane

    Dominic Thygesen - University of Queensland

    William McCulloch - Norths Brisbane

    NSW Waratahs

    Jack Barrett – Randwick Rugby Club

    Ben Di Staso – Eastern Suburbs

    Bryn Edwards - Sydney University

    Ollie McCrea – Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club

    Archie Saunders – Warringah Rugby Club

    Eamon Doyle - Sydney University

    Hwi Sharples - Sydney University

    Joe Dillon - Manly Marlins

    Oniti Finau - Randwick Rugby Club

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    I know Nathan Gray made a 90 minute call to Caleb Karangaroa from Wanneroo on Friday so I was really hoping he made the cut. He went through a heap of recorded local club matches highlighting his strengths and weaknesses, sounded very professional and encouraging.

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    Among several to really watch, Aden Ekanayake is a particular stand out for me.
    From a late bloomer at Sydney's Barker College to Captain last year of the Australian School & U18s, he is a dominating and very mobile #6.
    Meanwhile also breaking into the Aus7's program at only 18.
    If managed correctly, I wouldn't be surprised to see him in contention for higher honours around RWC time.
    He reportedly has an eye on the Waratahs, which as a local is only natural, however, with a relatively young Backrow department already there, would be well served joining his long term Rep team mates Leahy and Sawers in the sunny West.

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    'We're well advanced': Australia U20s primed for strong World Championships after maiden TRC

    Wed, Jun 19, 2024, 12:17 PM
    Nathan Williamson


    Australia U20s coach Nathan Grey believes a promising Rugby Championship campaign has set his side up perfectly for July's U20 World Championships.

    The Aussies were in pole position to take out the title after leading eventual winners New Zealand in the final 20 minutes before the Baby Blacks raced away to take out the inaugural event.

    Catch every game of Super Rugby Pacific LIVE, ad-free and on demand on Stan Sport.

    It came off the back of a strong win over South Africa, beginning their tournament with a defeat to Argentina.

    With the Australians drawn against Ireland, Italy and Georgia, Grey believes the Sunshine Coast event was the ideal way to prepare for the rigours of the World Championships in South Africa.

    “The Rugby Championship was a great opportunity to test those five-day turnarounds, three in a row against world-class opposition," Grey said to the media.

    “We’re well advanced of last year in terms of preparation and you can see that with the cohesion of the group with their friendships and the guys getting to know each other but also through our training.

    “It’s a real advantage to have that and it’s going to set us up really heading over there.”

    The Australians had a standout U20 campaign at last year's World Championships, finishing fifth despite dropping just one game to Ireland across the tournament.

    It proved a launching pad for Super Rugby Pacific's breakout stars in 2024, with Tim Ryan and Darby Lancaster pressing their case for higher honours.

    Grey wants to continue the process in 2024 as Reds flyhalf Harry McLaughlin-Phillips and Waratahs prop Jack Barrett headline the returning class from last year.

    “Those things come off the back of playing really well as a collective as the Australian U20s," he said.

    “We want to play our style, represent a lot of people over in Africa and look for this opportunity that come off that back of that around Super Rugby contracts.

    “We’re really excited about that and we want to create a really good environment where the guys can perform to the best of their abilities.

    "...We’ve got six or seven guys who have a lot of experience from last year so we’ll be leaning on those to educate the other guys around the intensity and the quality of the teams that we’re going to face.”

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    Australia U20s refusing to be complacent before opening Georgia U20s Championship match

    Tue, Jun 25, 2024, 9:23 AM
    Nathan Williamson


    Australia U20s captain Toby Macpherson understands the importance of not taking any game lightly at the World U20s Championships as they prepare to open their account against Georgia.

    The U20s squad landed in South Africa over the weekend as they look to improve on their fifth-place finish from last year.

    Macpherson is one of several returning players from that campaign, taking over the captaincy from Waratahs scrumhalf Teddy Wilson.

    “It’s pretty cool, Obviously, to go there last year was cool but to have the title of captain next to your name is awesome and everything you could want from an under-20s perspective," he told reporters on the honour of being captain.

    “Teddy (Wilson) was a great captain last year and hopefully I can emulate what he did last year with the group and go a bit further.

    “…When (coach Nathan Grey) asked if I was comfortable to take the role, I was pretty keen to step in and really help get the lads ready for how to recover and prepare for those five-day turnarounds to get the best out of each other.”

    The Georgians have been slowly building their rugby depth through the U20s program, which achieved their best result in last year's competition (eighth) after winning against Argentina and Italy.

    They come into South Africa brimming with confidence after a 45-17 thumping of England in Tbilisi a fortnight ago.

    “Last year the big learning was that it doesn’t matter who you are playing, you have to rock up on the day, particularly at the 20s level," Macpherson said.

    “There’s a lot of athletes that are pushing really hard from different nations, like Georgia for game one, who at a men’s level are probably not where they want to be but from an under 20s level, they have a lot of resources and they’re building really nicely as a nation.

    “Complacency is the biggest thing. We’ve got to rock up each game and really want to win and make a statement. I don’t think we were complacent last year but I think we learnt very quickly that you’ve got to be on your game and you can’t just rock up and want it to happen.”

    Friday's Wallabies squad announcement was a timely reminder of the importance of the U20s program in the pathways, with Darby Lancaster named in his first squad 12 months on from a breakout tournament.


    There have been close to a dozen players from last year's team that have featured in Super Rugby, with Reds winger Tim Ryan narrowly missing out on a call-up to Joe Schmidt's squad.

    “It makes you think that maybe you’re not that far," Macpherson said on their success.

    “Each individual is different and those boys credit to them, they’re really hard workers being around them last year and they were elite professionals and I think that’s correlated into their performances last year.

    “I guess for the boys, it’s that idea you’re not that far away and in the long run in a year’s time, you never know, you could be out on the field against the British and Irish Lions.

    “You’ve just got to put your best foot forward and it gives you the confidence you’re in the right program and hands and a good 12 months of footy you can see how you can go.”

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