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Aussie 7s ace included in Junior Wallabies squad for New Zealand series

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Australian Sevens ace Darby Lancaster headlines an exciting 31-man Junior Wallabies squad to take on the New Zealand Under-20s in Wellington.

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Ahead of the World Rugby U20 Championship 2023 in South Africa, the Junior Wallabies will travel across the ditch to play their arch rivals.

The trans-Tasman rivals will go head-to-head in two matches, including a Super Rugby Pacific curtain-raiser early next month.

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Australia will play New Zealand at NZCIS in a couple of weeks’ time on May 29, before playing the curtain-raiser at Sky Stadium ahead of the Hurricanes’ clash with the champion Crusaders on June 3.

“We’re very excited about getting the squad together and testing ourselves against New Zealand, who always present a great challenge,” coach Nathan Grey said in a statement.

“In particular the scheduling of the second game as a curtain-raiser to the Super Rugby Pacific fixture presents a valuable opportunity for the players to experience a big stadium and a big stage to perform on.

“Many of the players in the squad essentially picked themselves through the quality and consistency of their performances playing for their clubs over the last month.

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“Super Rugby Pacific commitments have forced some changes but we have the benefit of being able to draw from an extended shadow squad of players who have been involved in the program to date.

“From all comers of Australia, they come together under the Junior Wallabies banner, to represent their country with pride and take a huge step in their development as rugby players.”

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Rising stars Tom Lynagh, Max Jorgensen and Marley Pearce were initially included in the Junior Wallabies squad, but have been made unavailable due to their Super Rugby Pacific commitments.

Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, Tom Morrison and Chris Mickelson have replaced the trio in the Australian Under-20s setup.

The Junior Wallabies will assemble for a camp on the Gold Coast on May 21, before heading off to New Zealand – continuing their preparations for the U20 Championship next month.

Australia have been drawn alongside England, Ireland and Fiji in pool play at the tournament, which is set to kick-off on June 24.

At the last instalment of the esteemed event in 2019, the Junior Wallabies reached the final – but lost to France in a thriller.

Junior Wallabies squad

Reds

Taj Annan

John Bryant

Ben Daniels

Nick Bloomfield

Harrison Usher

Jarrod Homan

Tim Ryan

Nick Baker

Trevor King

Max Craig

Harry McLaughlin-Phillips

Rebels

Leafi Talataina

Mason Gordon

David Vaihu

Daniel Maiava

Brumbies

Liam Bowron

Massimo De Lutiis

Lachlan Hooper

Klayton Thorn

Matias Jensen

Chris Mickelson

Force

Ned Slack-Smith

Jhy Legg

AU Sevens

Darby Lancaster

Waratahs

Jack Barrett

Ollie McCrea

Teddy Wilson

Jack Bowen

Henry O’Donnell

Jackson Ropata

Tom Morrison

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