"It's a step up" says U20s coach

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by Chris Ford

Australia Under 20s coach, Adrian Thompson has urged his side that it’s a "step up" ahead of their two-match series against the Junior All Blacks this week.

The young Aussie side has been in camp since last Tuesday, coming together for the first time since the inaugural Super U20s Championship with the first game against New Zealand on the Gold Coast on Tuesday night.

“I think we’ll do well, I think they’ll just need to adapt to the fact that it’s a step up from what they did at Super U20s,” Thompson said to rugby.com.au.

“The speed of the game will be different so it’ll be a good learning experience no matter what happens.”Australia U20s coach Adrian Thompson with the squad at Bond University. Photo: ARU Media

The Super U20s enjoyed a successful introduction in 2016 as Australian Rugby tries to break a run of disappointing results at the World Rugby U20 Championship.

“I think they’ll (the squad) certainly be better prepared, the experience will be at a different level but they’re certainly better prepared than previously,” Thompson said. 

Injuries have spoiled the training week at Bond University with four of the squad going down, while the Queensland Reds were forced to recall giant lock Lukhan Tui and winger Campbell Magnay after injuries of their own.

“That’s good for the boys (to get recalled) and moving forward that’s actually good for their personal preparation even though it’s a bit disruptive here,” Thompson said.

A bye for the Melbourne Rebels couldn’t have been timelier with Thompson able to call-up Sione Tuipulotu, who has featured in 2016 for the Australian Conference leaders. Sione Tuipulotu has featured for the Rebels in 2016. Photo: ARU Media 

“That (having played Super Rugby) will help me a bit upstairs, but at the same time you are playing for your country against good sides like New Zealand, you just have to put your best foot forward,” Tuipulotu said.

“I’ve been talking to the Under 20s boys whilst I’ve been over with the Rebels and the side has been building quite nicely.

“There are some good blokes around here so we are very keen to get out there.”

Australia kicks off against New Zealand at 6.30pm AEST on Tuesday 3 May with the match to be live streamed through www.rugby.com.au.