U20s captain wants to shatter Kiwi aura

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A win over New Zealand on Saturday afternoon would give the Aussies more than just a 1-1 ledger, captain Maclean Jones says..

Any victory would shed a lingering psychological barrier that hangs over the side when they face any New Zealand teams.

Jones said they were desperate to destroy the aura around the Junior All Blacks and that would all start with a win on Saturday.

“It’s something that’s been ingrained in the Australian U20s, that the Kiwis have it over us but it’s something we need to change now,” he said.

Jones said he and the rest of the team’s leaders needed to take charge in trying to shift the mindset.

“It’s a pretty big responsibility but it’s  not just me, a lot of the older boys have got to drive that keep talking about and we’re not forgetting about.

A sunny day on the Gold Coast could play into the Australian team’s hands, after a humid night compounded their handling errors in the opening game on Tuesday night.

“(A clear day would) suit our game style can throw the ball around, use our running backs a lot more and I think that’ll definitely suit us over the Kiwis.”

The last chance for players to push their credentials for the World Cup later this year, Jones said competition for spots was driving everyone.

“I think it’s in the back of everyone’s minds,” he said.

“They know they’ve got a job to do on Saturday and that’s their main focus and everything will sort itself out.”

The Aussies have had a late reshuffle, with Nick Jooste coming into the starting team for Liam Jurd (calf).

Australia U20s takes on New Zealand U20s at 4pm, streamed live on rugby.com.au