Australia to kick off JWC campaign against Tonga

by staff

Coach David Nucifora has announced the Australian Under 20s team which will take on Tonga in their opening pool clash of the IRB Junior World Championship in Italy on Friday (Saturday AEST).

Captain Colby Faingaa will start at openside flanker with Queensland backrower Eddie Quirk at No.8, while Reds Academy halfback Matt Lucas and Waratahs Academy playmaker Ben Volavola will pair up in the halves for the Aussies’ first match at Stadio Mario Battaglini in Rovigo.

ACT flyhalf James Ambrosini has been forced to withdraw from the tournament after breaking his thumb in training during the week and Waratahs Academy utility Damon Anderson has joined the squad as his replacement.

Ambrosini is the third back, and fourth player, to drop out of the original squad following the withdrawal of Joel Faulkner (shoulder) and Dominic Shipperley and Liam Gill’s release to the Queensland Reds for the Super Rugby finals.

Nucifora said he is looking to spread the workload between his players where possible.

“We are fortunate with the experience we have within our forward pack and to introduce a mix of new guys who are at the tournament for the first time alongside players who were there last year will be beneficial,” Nucifora said.

“The players will all get chances in the opening two matches to push claims for inclusion in the starting line up further into the tournament.

“This is a tough tournament with five international matches to be played every four days so a squad approach needs to be adopted.”

Last year Australia piled on 11 tries when they defeated Tonga 67-5 in their pool match in Parana, Argentina.

The Australian U20s squad features eight players who are returning for a second tilt at the JWC title, keen to reverse the disappointment of finishing runners-up to three-time champions New Zealand 62-17 in Argentina last year.

Prop Paul Alo-Emile, hooker Siliva Siliva, second rows Greg Peterson and Luke Jones, flankers Faingaa and Quirk, centre Kimami Sitauti all played in the final defeat, while Scott Sio is another from the 2010 squad who returns for a second shotat the title.

In the last three years, 26 Australian U20 representatives have gone on to earn Super Rugby contracts, and from that group, 13 have gone on to represent the Qantas Wallabies.

New Zealand has won all three titles and not dropped a match since the JWC replaced the IRB's former age-grade tournaments, the Under 19 and Under 21 Championships in 2008.

Fox Sports will telecast Australia’s third pool match against France LIVE on Fox Sports 1 at 4am AEST and the semi-finals (Fox Sports 2 from 2am AEST) and finals LIVE on Fox Sports 3 from 1am AEST.

The IRB will provide live streaming of 10 matches via .

Australia U20s (15-1): Rohan Saifoloi, Kimami Sitauti, Tom Kingston, Apo Latunipulu, Tevita Kuridrani, Ben Volavola, Matt Lucas, Eddie Quirk, Colby Faingaa ©, Jarrad Butler, Greg Peterson, Blake Enever, Paul Alo-Emile, Hugh Roach, Tim Metcher.

Res: Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio, Luke Jones, Ted Postal, Ed Bredenhann, Simon Morahan, Bill Meakes.

Match Schedule/Telecast details

Pool Game 1

Friday 10th June – Australia v Tonga

Venue: Stadio Mario Battaglini, Rovigo

Kickoff: 6:10pm local / 2:10am (Sat) AEST

Not telecast

Pool Game 2

Tuesday 14th June – Australia v Fiji

Venue: Stadio Plebiscito, Padova

Kickoff: 6:10pm local / 2:10am (Wed) AEST

Not telecast

Pool Game 3

Saturday 18th June – Australia v France

Venue: Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso

Kickoff: 20:10 local / 4:10am (Sun) AEST

LIVE Fox Sports 1 – 4am

Semi Finals

Wednesday 22nd June, Treviso

Venue: Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso

Semi 1 (2nd seed v 3rd seed): 18:00 local /2am (Thurs) AEST

Semi 2 (1st seed v 4th seed): 20:10 local/4.10am (Thurs) AEST

LIVE Fox Sports 2 - 2am/ 4am

JWC Finals

Sunday 26th June

Venue: Stadio Plebiscito, Padova

3 v 4

Kickoff: 17:10 local / 1:10am (Mon) AEST

LIVE Fox Sports 3 – 1am

1v 2

Kickoff: 19:10 local / 3:10am (Mon) AEST

LIVE Fox Sports 3 – 3am