Nine out of 12 current Australian Under 20’s players from New South Wales represented their respective Shute Shield First Grade sides over the weekend, as they continue their individual preparations ahead of the Oceania Rugby Under 20’s Championships in May.
Matthew Sandell and Harrison Williams donned the Sydney University colours, while four players represented Randwick, including Ned Hanigan, Olly Kamp, Andrew Deegan and Andrew Kellaway.
Harry Jones turned out for Warringah and earned bragging rights over fellow Australian Under 20’s teammate and West Harbour prop Cameron Orr, as the Rats beat the Pirates 31-26. Meanwhile, Alex Newsome made his First Grade debut for Eastern Suburbs and did his best to defend an attacking onslaught from Northern Suburbs at Woollahra Oval.
With a strong contingent of Australian Under 20’s players sporting First Grade jumpers over the weekend, Head Coach Adrian Thompson believes their experience in the top tier of Club Rugby will hold them in good stead moving forward.
“It’s great to see that most of the New South Wales players have now earned their first grade stripes and it will give them a lot of confidence ahead of the Oceania Rugby Championships.
“An ability to mix it with seasoned veterans in the Shute Shield competition, is a credit to all of the hard work they have put in over the past few months. Hopefully they will nurture this experience and use it to their advantage when they pull on the gold jersey in the near future,” Thompson said.
In the Australian Under 20’s Extended Squad, there are currently twelve players representing New South Wales following their strong showing at the National Under 20’s Championships, which saw the men in blue win the tournament for a second consecutive year.
The Aussie team will assemble at Bond University on the Gold Coast at the end of this month, as they prepare to take on Samoa, Japan and New Zealand in the Oceania Rugby Junior Championships.
For the full Australian Under 20’s squad click here.
Oceania Rugby Under 20’s Championship, Bond University, Gold Coast
Friday 1 May, Australia v Samoa, 3:00pm
Tuesday 5 May, Australia v Japan, 3:00pm
Saturday 9 May, Australia v New Zealand, 3:00pm