Reds experience a launchpad to success for Perese, Stewart

World Rugby U20s Championship
by Sam Phillips

Australian U20s stars Hamish Stewart and Izaia Perese have used their time at the Reds as a launching pad to a superb string of performances at the World Rugby U20s Championship.

That's the view of the newly re-signed young guns, who are hoping to reverse the Wallabies' loss to Scotland with a fifth place playoff win against the Scotland U20s tonight.

"Queensland is my home state and the Reds are such a great team," Perese said.

"How they've treated me, growing up through their ranks, they've treated me well and looked after me so I'm over the moon."

Perese has been Australia's best player all tournament and that was evident in the the three try show he put on against Italy.Perese has been outstanding all tournament for the Australian U20s. Photo: ARU Media/Levan VerdzeuliThat performance was a full showcase of his powerful attacking arsenal but what Perese needs is experience and he has picked up plenty of pointers from the likes of Samu Kerevi, Quade Cooper and Karmichael Hunt.

"I've learned a lot from those boys, playing alongside them," Perese said.

"Even though I haven't made the most out of it, I've definitely learned a lot and I am looking forward to coming home and working alongside all the boys."

The man that has fed Perese the clean ball he needs to thrive is Stewart, who has started all four games of the campaign.

He has spent the year learning from Cooper and even spent time rooming with him on road trips and it has shown in Georgia.Stewart has controlled the Australian attack with a cool head. Photo: ARU Media/Levan VerdzeuliHis kicking game has always been his biggest strength but he has shown the kind of flair Cooper is known for throughout the tournament.

"Being next to Quade has obviously helped my game a lot and I've picked up a lot of experience from a real rugby technician," Stewart said.

"We are building a strong culture there and hopefully next year we can push to play in the Super Rugby finals."

But before the pair head back to Ballymore, a fifth place playoff against Scotland awaits.


The result at Allianz Stadium yesterday showed the type of rugby Scotland is capable of and the Australians are keen to finish the tournament on a winning note, even though it won't be in the final.

"The boys have bonded pretty well and that's been shown in the games," Stewart said.

"If we can go through the whole tournament with just the one loss it will be key for Australian rugby and it's what Australian rugby needs."

The Australian U20s take on Scotland tonight in Georgia, kicking off at 9:30pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.

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