Tuttle happy with U20s improvement

Brenden Hertell
by Brendan Hertel

Australia U20s captain James Tuttle was pleased to see the improvement in his side as they secured their first 2016 World Rugby U20s Championship win, against Italy.

The Australians ran in five tries to Italy’s one to claim the 38-10 win, a significant turn around from their 15-10 loss to Scotland last Tuesday.

“I’m really happy with the result, there was a good vibe in the change room after the game,” Tuttle said.

“We showed improvement between the Scotland and Italy games. The players worked hard in training last week and took a lot on board in review sessions. It was pleasing to get the win.”

The team went into the match looking to reignite their attacking flare after struggling to dent the Scottish defence and they reaped the rewards with a four-try second half.

“I think we managed to improve our attack. We tried to play running rugby, even though the conditions were wet we tried to throw the ball around as much as we could and expose them on the edges, which we did," he said.

“The first 20 minutes were a hard slog but we stuck to our guns, came out firing in the second half and managed to run away with the game.”

The Australian side can’t afford to enjoy their win for too long with their biggest test of the tournament pool-stages still ahead of them – England.

James Tuttle is pleased with his side's growth. Photo: ARU MediaThe English side have secured two convincing wins in their opening two matches, accounting for Italy 48-10 before securing 44-0 victory over Scotland.

“They’re the benchmark, we’ve seen that with their results so far this tournament,” Tuttle said.

“They were in the final last year and only narrowly went down to New Zealand. It’s going to be a massive challenge for us, but getting a win over them would be huge, especially here in Manchester.

“The players will be doing everything in their power to be ready for England. A lot of work is going on behind the scenes, plenty of time spent on the computers reviewing footage as well as time spent stretching to ensure our bodies are right for the game.”

While wary of the gravitas of the England game, Tuttle is confident the team can continue to improve.

“I think we’re still just building. The more time we can get on the field together the better we’re going to be," he said.

“We’ll look to improve again against England. I know we’re gelling better together now that we’re playing more minutes together, that was evident in the second half against Italy, and the team can’t wait to get out there on Wednesday night.”

Australia will face England in their final pool game of the tournament on Thursday June 16 at 4:45am AEST LIVE on FOXSPORTS 2 502.