Australia U20s well placed for World Championships

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia U20s coach Adrian Thompson says his team is well-placed to make a big impact at the World Championships.

A ten-try domination of NSW Country on Saturday night ended their local preparations for the England tournament, with the side leaving for Manchester on Tuesday.

Thompson was positive after the 61-0 win over the Cockatoos and said an intense camp, followed by two warm up wins would hopefully close the gap against the northern hemisphere sides, who have played a full season including a Six Nations tournament.

‘We’re always behind the eight ball a little bit but hopefully we’re bridging the gap in terms of preparation with this stuff,” he said.

Thompson said ideally they would follow the northern hemisphere’s suit, with a U20s Rugby Championship, but that’s a long way off.

“I’d love to. One step at a time, it would be good .Financially it’s difficult but we’d like to do it,” he said.

After an injury-free night, Thompson said they had to make their superior preparation count, with a June 8 game against Scotland looming.

“I reckon they’ve taken another step forward tonight,” he said.

Australia U20s and NSW Country all smiles following their match on Saturday. Photo: Karen Watson

“We just need to get over there, get through another 3-4 training sessions injury free and game one against Scotland.

“At the end of the day, we’re better prepared but we’ve still got to turn up and perform when it matters.

Winger Liam McNamara was a late call-up into the squad, replacing injured Joey Fittock (thumb) and impressed playing in a number of different spots and scoring a try.

With the new Super U20s structure, Thompson said it was easier to call on guys like McNamara, having seen them play over a number of weeks rather than the previous one-week nationals.

“He played well during the Super 20s and was down here as a shadow player and had come down and done all the right things and jumped into number 10 at the end of the night,” he said.

“From our point of view, we get to see them play more whereas we used to just see them over three days.

“It means we get to see them every week which has been good. “ McNamara said the U20s would continue to back their attacking style as they prepared to adapt to the forward-heavy style in Europe.

“We put in a good performance but the World Cup’s the next level so we’ve got to make sure we step up and continue to play well over there,” he said.

“I think we need to keep backing our skills and keep playing the attacking rugby and just stick to our structures.

“As long as we do that we should be able to perform.”