Tuttle believes in U20s trophy chances

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Queensland U20s halfback James Tuttle will lead the Australia U20s at the World Championships Manchester and he’s confident the side can come back with a trophy.

Australia has finished fifth in the past two World Championships, despite losing just one game in each tournament, but a drought-breaking win over New Zealand and dominant victories in two warm up matches have given the side extra confidence.

“There’s a really good vibe in the side,” he said.

“Obviously having the first win for an Australian U20s side against New Zealand has really boosted the side’s confidence,” he said.

“We’re going into a World Cup where no [Australian] U20s side has won the thing but having that confidence will do the boys a world of good.

“We haven’t had the successes we would’ve liked in the past but we’ve got a good mix of young  players and guys who were here last year.

“We’re really gelling together and there’s a sense of self-belief that we can win the trophy."

The Australia U20s squad. Photo: ARU MediaTuttle isn’t new to the captaincy caper, having led Queensland Country in the NRC last year, and said he had sought advice from plenty of players to continue to grow as a leader.

“I captained the Queensland Country NRC side and a few of my teams during the schoolboys,” he said.

“Things I’ve learned off some of the senior players at the Reds will help me with the way I lead the side, little tips and tricks to get the players on board and get up for certain games.

“On the field, there’s a lot of chatting through my position at half back, which requires a lot of talk and I like to express myself through my voice but I think I Iead by example when I can.”

Tuttle will be joined in an all-Queensland leadership group by Maclean Jones and flyhalf Mack Mason, as they prepare for the World Championships.

Up against Scotland, England and Italy, Tuttle said the Australians would stick to the attacking philosophy, regardless of climate or opposition.

“We just want to still play attacking style rugby and if there is weather changes, we’ll make some minor adaptations,” he said.

“For us, we want to have that attacking mindset and continue to play the way we’ve been playing.

“I think the Northern Hemisphere sides won’t be as used to that, so it could work in our favour.”

Liam McNamara and Ikapote Tupai have joined the squad, which departs on Tuesday, with Harley Fox and Joey Fittock ruled out of the tournament.