The Australian U20s clinched their first win over New Zealand since the 2007 inception of U20s, on Saturday night.
A 25-24 win in the second Oceania U20s Championship clash wasn't enough to win the overall trophy but it will give Australia a handy confidence boost ahead of June's U20s World Cup.
Who are some of the Aussies who stood out against New Zealand this week?
1. Harley Fox
Close to the best of the Australians in the opening Oceania U20s, despite a 20-point loss. The rugby league junior, from Ipswich, moved to the Rebels ahead of this season and is another on the list of quality back rowers that club now has. Fox forced some crucial turnovers in both matches, starting in the opener, and coming on for Ryan McCauley in the second.
2. Izack Rodda
The Australian scrum was a dominant force throughout the week and Rodda was a core part of that. A clever try off a pick and go was a highlight of the opening half in Australia’s win and shows the nous of the 201cm second rower. The lineout is something on for the Aussies but Rodda has shown plenty of potential.
3. Mack Mason
He slotted the winning penalty but that was just the icing on a strong series from Australia’s young flyhalf. Mason controlled his side well over both games, coming off a strong stint with the champion Queensland Reds U20s in the Super U20s competition. Has a rugby league background, including playing for the Melbourne Storm U20s but hasn’t missed a beat since becoming a part of Queensland’s system this year. Proved he could be the next “Iceman” slotting that winning shot with ease.
4. Angus Scott-Young
He certainly took his father’s advice going into the second clash - there wasn’t any kisses being blown by the backrower. His aggression and competitiveness at the breakdown helped force the final penalty that won the game for the Aussies on Saturday night. A big unit, the Aussies will be glad to have him in their side come the World Cup.
5. Jack Maddocks
Had a wobbly start to Australian U20s career but was one of the standouts in the thriller on Saturday night. He had his kicking straightened out and he showed off his elusive pace. HIs ability to beat defenders is one of his great strengths and he showed that in both matches on the Gold Coast. Has played first-grade cricket and only recently begun to think seriously about a professional rugby career.
One try and two try-saving tackles in the second game speak for themselves. A talented winger who has potential.
Came in to replace Liam Jurd (calf) and had a major influence on the second game. The schoolboy prodigy is coming of age.
He didn't play in the U20s series, called up to replace Samu Kerevi for the Reds. Expect him to be a key part of Australia's U20s World Cup campaign next month.