Super U20s brings professionalism to rising stars

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The new Super U20s Championship will help give young players a glimpse of professional Rugby life, Australian U20s coach Adrian Thompson says.

The championship replaces a week-long national U20s competition and will give teams the opportunity to play in Super Rugby curtain-raisers in many of the matches.

Thompson said the competition would be a more  accurate reflection of the Rugby landscape.

“We’ve had in the past last couple of years a national championships taken place in Canberra and it’s only been Queensland, NSW and a joint team from the other states,” he said.

“Now we’re actually trying to make it realistic with each of the teams to play each other once and a lot more like a professional system.”

The competition will feature a mix of  contracted Super Rugby players and emerging youngsters, with teams linked to the five senior franchises.

Thompson said all the states were working to bring through their talented youngsters now.

“All Super Rugby teams have the access that Queensland and New South Wales do and that’s driven some recruitment,” he said.

“All three of those states (ACT, WA and VIC) have actively recruited and they’ll be providing plenty of competition.”

Reds duo Campbell Magnay and James Tuttle will be ones to watch, Thompson said, along with high school prodigy Nick Jooste and Jordan Jackson-Hope.

Western Force U20s back Angus Taylor, speaking at the launch of the Super U20s Championship on Wednesday, said the competition would be a welcome addition to the pathway.

“I think it’s pretty vital in building that bridge between Schoolboys and professional Rugby,” he said.

“Before 20s you had schoolboys and then you went off and played club rugby and hope to get picked up.

“Now you’ve got that little bridge and this gives an opportunity to play Aussie U20s as well.”

As for what his state can bring, Taylor said they could surprise a few teams.

“We might be a bit smaller than the other sides but that’s not going to take away from our physicality,” he said.

“We’re going to take it to them up front and we’ve got some exciting gas outside to expose those edges and get some tries.”