The Australian Barbarians team will compete in the 2015 National Under 20s Championship against New South Wales, Queensland, Tonga and Fiji, with the tournament running from the 19-25 March.
Now in its second year, the tournament will be played in Canberra and will give the best young players from around the country an opportunity to push for a spot in the National Under 20s Australian team, ahead of the FORU International Under 20s Championship (April) and the World Rugby Junior World Championships in June.
The Barbarians team was chosen from last month’s Southern States Under 20s Championship and features 11 players from the ACT, six from Victoria, five from Western Australia, three from New South Wales Country and one from Queensland Country.
Head Coach, Russell Ingram, is looking forward to the challenge and believes the tournament presents a unique national pathway for up and coming players in the country.
“I’m really excited. They’re a talented group of young men and it’s a great opportunity for them to stake their claim for Australian selection.
“Our front row stocks are looking really strong and there is some pace out wide as well, so I think we are in good shape.”
Ingram considers this tournament to be a crucial stepping stone for players who want a ticket to the pinnacle of elite junior Rugby later this year.
“As a barbarian unit, the chance to mix with other people and cultures will give them a feel for what it’s like to play at a representative level.
“The end purpose is to put them in the best possible position to represent Australia at the Junior World Championship in Parma, Italy.”
Events like the National Under 20s Championship will strengthen Australian Rugby’s junior stocks and also help to earmark future stars of the game.
“I think we’re definitely on the right track to finding the best kids and giving them the opportunity to play at the highest level” said Ingram.
The National Under 20s Championships will kick off later this month with the Australian Barbarians taking on Tonga in the first match of the tournament.