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Australian Under 20s coach Adrian Thompson has rung in the changes for his side’s final pool match at the IRB Junior World Championship, making 11 alterations to the starting side to face Fiji.
Thompson has made significant changes to the side that fell 14-10 to New Zealand, with only captain Curtis Browning, lock Tom Staniforth, flyhalf Reece Hodge and wing Alex Northam retaining starting spots.
With losses to Ireland, 19-15, and New Zealand already in pool play, the Australians are out of the race for the Championship title and must now commit their energy to improving on last year’s placing of eighth.
“This game provides us with an opportunity,” Thompson said.
“A good result here gives us a chance to improve significantly on last year’s result. We need to repeat the intensity from the New Zealand game.”
In the forward pack, Thompson has given the front row of Silatolu Latu, Maile Ngauamo and Oliver Hoskins a rest, after the trio started in the first two matches of the tournament.
In their place he has named Pettowa Paraka at loosehead, Andrew Ready at hooker and Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead. The three have all come off the bench in previous matches, with this their first start in the tournament.
In the second row, Senio Toleafoa earns his second start and Tom Staniforth retains his spot for his third consecutive start. The back row features Michael Wells at blindside, Mark Baldwin earning his first start at openside and captain Curtis Browning at Number 8.
Waldo Wessels has been given his first start at scrumhalf, having come off the bench against New Zealand, and Hodge retains his spot at flyhalf.
The centres pairing features Luke Burton in his first start, alongside Henry Taefu at outside. The back three includes Northam, whose speed has been a major asset for the Australians, alongside Brad Lacey who will make his debut, with Ulupano Seuteni at fullback.
Ngauamo, Latu and Phil Kite are the front row replacements, with Jack Dempsey and Patrick Sio rounding out the bench forwards.
Scrumhalf Angus Pulver has been brought into the match day 23 for the first time in this tournament and is joined by flyhalf Jake McIntyre and outside back Harry Parker as cover for the backs.
The Australian Under 20s face Fiji in their final pool game on Friday 14 June at 4:45am (AEST).
All games of the IRB Junior World Championship are streamed live at www.irb.com.
Australian Under 20s v Fiji
Click to view Australian Under-20 bios online
Curtis Browning (c)
University of Queensland
University RC WA
GPS Old Boys
Australian Under-20 IRB Junior World Championship draw
6 June, 2:45am (AEST)
Stade de la Rabine in Vannes
10 June, 4:45am (AEST)
V New Zealand
14 June, 4:45am (AEST)
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