U20s will bear pathway fruits

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Queensland Reds assistant Brad Thorn says plenty of his U20s charges will carve out long Super Rugby careers.

The Reds head into this weekend’s Super 20s final against the Rebels undefeated and Thorn said the competition had exposed plenty of talent.

Thorn has been in charge of the Reds U20s forwards this season, a pack that includes high school sensation Taniela Tupou, and said the new competition would be a vital part of their Rugby development.

“This a great little competition, it’s not dragged out,” he said.

“You play each other once and we have a final but it’s a step into more professional footy from schoolboy stuff.

“I suspect there’ll be quite a few names that we’ll see in the next decade that’ll have done their time in the 20s.

“They’re important times, that’s foundational work for hopefully long careers.

Thorn said Australia was moving in the direction of fierce rivals New Zealand with the development of the U20s and the NRC.

Australia’s trans-Tasman cousins have long had a provincial competition after the Super Rugby season and Thorn said it could only be a good thing Australia has created something in the same mould.

“Club Rugby is still important - it’s the fabric of the game - but I think it’s really smart having NRC as that stepping stone," he said

“If you don’t make that Super team it could be a long year but players can look forward to competing in the NRC.

“Some of the Super players are away playing Tests, so there’s opportunities you see young talent coming through, getting a crack.

“You can see with the 20s program they’re getting really serious about that with this competition we’ve got so it’s good as well.

“I think things are on the right track.”

The Reds can expect to welcome back James Tuttle into their lineup for the final,after missing their final two regular round games with injury.

The Reds U20s host the Rebels U20s at Ballymore on Sunday April 3 at 2:00 pm AEST