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Junior Wallabies confirm preliminary squad for U20s Rugby Championship

By Finn Morton
Australia line up for the national anthem during the match between New Zealand U20 and the Junior Wallabies at NZCIS on May 29, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

With a mix of Super Rugby Pacific experience and national U19s champions, coach Nathan Grey has confirmed an exciting 35-man preliminary Junior Wallabies squad for the inaugural U20s Rugby Championship on the Sunshine Coast.


The Junior Wallabies will take on the best emerging rugby talent from Argentina, South Africa and New Zealand in a historic event from May 2 to 12 at Sunshine Coast Stadium near Mooloolaba.

While the Six Nations U20s Championship has been around for almost 15 years, this is the first time ever that the best of the best in the southern hemisphere will come together for a U20s instalment of The Rugby Championship.

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Recent NSW Waratahs debutant Jack Barrett – who was a late replacement for Wallaby Angus Bell against the Melbourne Rebels in round six – is one player to watch out for after being included in the initial 35-player group.

There are a total of nine players in the squad, including Barrett, from the Waratahs region. Rising star and Sevens development player Aden Ekanyake is also from the Sydney-based franchise.

Ekanyake captained the Australian Schools & U18s against New Zealand last year before moving into the sevens set-up by joining the Aussies’ wider squad for the 2023/24 campaign.

The ACT Brumbies have the largest representation with 10 men included in this Junior Wallabies squad.


Fly-half Cullen Gray, centre Jarrah McLeod, props Tevita Alatini and Lington Leli, and fullback Shane Wilcox all featured for the Brumbies Runners in 2024.

Queensland ahs six players in the squad while there are five players from our west.

From the Rebels, Judiah Saumaisue ahs been named after representing Fiji at last year’s U20 World Championship.

This 35-man group will assemble in Kangaroo Valley before the squad is cut down to 31 ahead of the event.

Australia will take on Argentina in their opening match on May 2 before facing South Africa and finally New Zealand.


Australia U20s preliminary TRC squad

Brumbies: Tevita Alatini, Drew Brndusic, Harvey Cordukes, Cullen Gray, Jack Harley, Lington Leli, Jarrah McLeod, Toby Macpherson, Angus Staniforth, Shane Wilcox

Rebels: Joey Fowler, Divad Palu, Judah Saumaisue, Ottavio Tuipulotu

Force: Boston Fakafanua, Ronan Leahy, Douglas Philipson, Dane Sawers, Kauri Tipene-Grace

Reds: Ollie Barrett, Nick Bloomfield, Ben Daniels, Frankie Goldsbrough, Joe Liddy, Will McCulloch, Xavier Rubens

Waratahs: Jack Barrett, Ben Di Staso, Austin Durbridge, Bryn Edwards, Aden Ekanayake, Olli McCrea, Archie Saunders, Hwi Sharples, Nathaniel Tiitii


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Abe 2 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

7 Go to comments
Turlough 6 hours ago
Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss

First of all: hats off to Toulouse an outstanding performance. Duponts kicking was phenomenal. Twice he challenged Keenan with amazing clearances from his 22 in extra time. Result was territory deep in Leinster half in the early part of extra time which lead to 2 penalties and the game. Remember also his two 50:22s? Now to Willis/Dupont. ANY slight isolation by a Leinster player resulted in a turnover penalty. How many turnovers in the Toulouse 22? Leinster’s defense was immense, they had opportunities in attack but they honestly looked like they had not spent enough time passing the ball in the training in the weeks preceding the final. Game management was poor. Toulouse’s scrum had crumbled. At 15-15 Leinster had a scrum advantage in a position that would be kickable for a scrum penalty. Leinster played on and missed a long range drop goal. You MUST take the scrum surely? Win penalty and its a shot at goal to win with time up. No penalty and you can attack and drop goal whatever. The distance from sideline penalties from Byrne was shocking. If you are kicking the line you must get close to that 5 metre line. How many times were Leinster forced to maul from 10-15 metres? Toulouse KNEW Leinster was going to kick and maul and clearly spent considerable training time neutralizing thuis threat. The maul was starting too far out, Toulouse were able to stop the heart of the drive. You must change tack and start kicking for goals. That said it always felt like Toulouse were the potent team on the day with Leinster under pressure and chasing. Even with their backline completely disrupted, Toulouse found a way. 9 Wins in their last 9 finals. Leinster will be there next year. But so will Toulouse/Northhampton etc. A great era of club rugby.

17 Go to comments
TRENDING Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss