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Australia recruit more speed and power for U20 Championship squad

By Ned Lester
Ronan Leahy of Australia in action during The Rugby Championship U20 Round 2 match between Australia and South Africa at Sunshine Coast Stadium on May 07, 2024 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Six new names feature in the Australia U20 squad for the World Rugby U20 Championship beginning at the end of this month in South Africa.


The 30-man squad includes the standout performers from Australia’s inaugural Rugby Championship campaign, with all five Super Rugby clubs represented as well as Australia Sevens.

Among the new faces is Archie Saunders of the Waratahs, a winger with a rapid 100m sprint time of 10.3 seconds. Two front rowers, a scrumhalf, a flyhalf and another outside back have also been brought in.

Video Spacer

Toby Macpherson excited for the U20 World Championship | TRC U20

Video Spacer

Toby Macpherson excited for the U20 World Championship | TRC U20

Having placed fifth in 2023, this year will see Australia face Georgia, Ireland and Italy in Pool B, led by lock Toby Macpherson as captain and Dan Nelson as vice-captain.

“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.”


Former Wallaby forwards Matt Cockbain and Ben Mowen will assume coaching duties of the forwards portfolio as Laurie Fisher departs the U20 setup in favour of Joe Schmidt’s Wallabies staff.

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

In the latest episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV


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Mzilikazi 2 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Very good article, Nic, and I find agreement with what you write virtually 100%. I think this two mach series has increasingly become one which will be very difficult for Ireland to win. After the first game of the last 6N, I would have been very full of confidence taking on the Boks in SA. France beaten by a big margin in France, it looked as if Ireland had emerged in fine form from the World Cup, despite the very narrow loss to the AB’s. But after that game, a slide began, ending with the defeat to England. Ireland were very fortunate to win this years 6N ! And as you so fully expose, this has not been a good season for Leinster, or indeed, in my view, for any Irish province. The Leinster loos to the Bulls, and then Munster letting a glorious chance slip to the Glasgow Warriors down at Thomond. Man, that one will really hurt. And both Connacht and Ulster have at times looked very poor this seaso, bith heavily beaten on occassion. The loss of both Gibson Park and Keenan are huge blows, especially Gibson Park. And there is really only one clear class 10 in the touring party, Jack Crowley, and he is still a very young player learning his trade. If he goes down, heaven help Ireland. And in my view, Ireland do not have a good scrummaging front row, SA do, and in great depth too. But despite all this doom and gloom, I always believe my team can win. Not that they will win, just can ! Ireland will still field what is the best and most talented team overall that I have seen in my lifetime. But the coaching group will really have to step up, no awful decisions like the one made against the AB’s in the QF….keeping the totally spent and poorly performing(on the day) Sexton on for the full 80mins, leaving Crowley on the sidelines. Ireland should never have lost that game !

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Shaylen 5 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Ireland have all the tools required to hurt SA. They develop quick ball, hold onto the ball for long periods, stretch the game when its on, have powerful mobile forwards, a good kicking game and they can hold their own in the scrum. They also can force turnovers regularly and in general do well at the breakdown. When Munster, the Ospreys and Glasgow all won games in SA this year against the Bulls and Stormers they did just that and won. It is also the reason why Ireland won the game at the world cup last year. The problem for Ireland is that SA have all the tools required to hurt them as well and hurt them a great deal more than England did in the Six Nations. They are physical and powerful at the set piece, they rush up and counter the Irish attacking system and they can really attack the breakdown and slow your ball down. Their counterattacking threat is also a big weapon and they score many tries from turnover turning defence into offence in a second. Toulouse and the Bulls nailed Leinster in this way and Glasgow did the same thing to Munster. So the series will be really interesting because both sides are so good at countering each other. Interested to see what kind of surprises Tony Brown springs and how the SA game develops. Feel like SA have more potential to surprise Ireland but then a new coaching set up as well as the fact that Japanese and foreign based players tend to take about 5 to 6 weeks to get up to speed might work in Irelands favour. SA have shipped at least one game in 4 of the last 5 June/July test windows going back to 2018 for this exact reason.

62 Go to comments
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