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By ARU Media Unit
Australian Under-20 coaches Adrian Thompson and Sean Hedger have named their squad for the final IRB Junior World Championship selection camp, which runs from today until Sunday at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.
The camp features 50 players from across the country, as Thompson and his coaches look to finalise their 28-man squad for the Under-20 tournament in France this June.
Head coach Thompson said the camp will provide him with a more in-depth look at the players before the Under-20 squad is announced next week.
“We’ll make the camp quite challenging and try to simulate what they’ll experience at the tournament to assess whether they are ready for that environment,” Thompson said.
Much of the camp will be geared at game preparation, as the players will be split into two teams to play in a trial match on Sunday.
“This will be a selection trial match, we want to see them prepare in a team situation and how they perform under pressure,” Thompson said.
“The big focus for us is to use this week as a selection tool.
“While we’re preparing these two teams for their trial match we’ll be teaching them a fair bit of how we want to play the game in June, so hopefully they’ll leave the camp with a good understanding of that.”
While eligible for selection, Queensland Reds player Chris Feauai-Sautia is unavailable to attend this week’s camp.
Qantas Men’s Sevens representatives Cam Clark, Tom Cusack, Allan Fa’alava’au, Lewis Holland, Junior Laloifi, Nick Malouf, Sean McMahon and Will Miller are all eligible to represent Australia at the Under-20 level but could be unavailable due to the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament also taking place in June.
The Australian age-grade program has long been a development stepping stone for future Wallabies, with the likes of Will Genia, David Pocock, Rob Simmons, James Slipper and Rob Horne all making their way through the program early in their careers.
The Australian Under-20 squad for the IRB Junior World Championship will be named next week and the team will head into its first preparation camp at Bond University in the first week of May.
The side will play two trials before leaving for France, taking on Papua New Guinea’s national team on Thursday 2 May at Bond University and an Australian Rugby Union National Academy side at Narrabeen Sports Academy in mid-May.
The IRB Junior World Championship runs 5-23 June in France, where Australia will face New Zealand, Fiji and Ireland in pool play.
Australian Under-20 Selection Camp
University of Queensland
University RC WA
GPS Old Boys Rugby Club
University of Western Australia