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Australia name strong side for tough U20 Championship opener

By Finn Morton
Australia sing the national anthem during The Rugby Championship U20 Round 3 match between Australia and New Zealand at Sunshine Coast Stadium on May 12, 2024 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Australia U20s coach Nathan Grey has named a strong side for the team’s opener at the World Rugby U20 Championship on Sunday morning (AEST). Toby Macpherson will lead the Aussies into battle when they take on a physical Georgia U20s outfit.

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Macpherson will pack down in the middle row along with fellow ACT Brumbies lock Harvey Cordukes, with the pair both retaining their spots in the starting side following the loss to New Zealand at the Rugby Championship U20 earlier this year.

Coach Grey has made seven changes to the run-on side that went down swinging against the Baby Blacks that night on the Sunshine Coast, including an all-new midfield partnership and the return of Tuggeranong Vikings’ Shane Wilcox at fullback.

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The NSW Waratahs’ Bryn Edwards comes into the starting side at hooker, with Jack Barrett and the Reds’ Nick Bloomfield also set to man the fort in the front row. As well as the second-row duo of MacPherson and Cordukes, the forward pack is otherwise unchanged.

Australian sevens member Aden Ekanayake joins Western Force flanker Dane Sawers and Act Brumbies enforcer Jack Harley in a formidable loose forwards trio.

Vice-captain Dan Nelson has got the nod at scrum-half and will link up with Reds playmaker Harry McLaughlin-Phillips. McLaughlin-Phillips debuted in Super Rugby Pacific this season and even started a few matches in the prized No. 10 jumper.

Jarrah McLeod and Kadin Pritchard make up a new-look midfield pairing, with that selection pushing Western Force flyer Ronan Leahy to the wing. Leahy, who debuted for the Force in the back end of the season, started at No. 12 against New Zealand U20s.

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On the other wing, Archie Sauders will line up on the left while Shane Wilcox rounds out the team at fullback. Wilcox scored a decisive double in the 24-19 win over the Junior Springboks but wasn’t selected to take on the Kiwis less than one week later.

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On the bench, Melbourne Rebels hooker Ottavio Tuipulotu and the Brumbies’ Angus Staniforth are players to watch out for.

The match between Australia U20s and Georgia U20s at Cape Town’s Athlone Sports Stadium is scheduled to get underway at 4:30 pm (local time) on Saturday or at 12:30 am (AEST) on Sunday morning.

Fans can catch the latest World Rugby U20 Championship action on RugbyPass TV. It’s free to sign up HERE.

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Australia U20 to take on Georgia U20

  1. Jack Barrett
  2. Bryn Edwards
  3. Nick Bloomfield
  4. Toby Macpherson (c)
  5. Harvey Cordukes
  6. Aden Ekanayake
  7. Dane Sawers
  8. Jack Harley
  9. Dan Nelson
  10. Harry McLaughlin-Phillips
  11. Archie Saunders
  12. Jarrah McLeod
  13. Kadin Pritchard
  14. Ronan Leahy
  15. Shane Wilcox

Replacements

  1. Ottavio Tuipulotu
  2. Lington Leli
  3. Tevita Alatini
  4. Eamon Doyle
  5. Ben Di Staso
  6. Hwi Sharples
  7. Joe Dillon
  8. Angus Staniforth

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Comments

1 Comment
M
Mzilikazi 23 days ago

Be good if the players States were given…can that be done next time, please….respectfully 😀

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