Australia U20s coach Simon Cron says it's up to his team to prove the Australian talent pool is more than just a ankle-deep as they open their Oceania U20s campaign on Friday.
Cron named his team for the opening clash on Thursday afternoon, and said his side needed to show its potential from the get-go.
“It’s really important that we perform and we do our processes and we show the skills that our players have in the game and that we’re hungry,” he said.
“You’ve got to be hungry to play rugby, you’ve got to want to do it, no one will give anything to you for free.”
This week has been just their second stint as a group after a 50-strong squad met for a camp earlier in the month and Cron said they had to back their players to pick up a new game plan in a matter of days.
“I have high expectations of these boys but the odd thing (might happen), we’ve got to be able to handle momentum shifts and the odd bit of knowledge where we don’t get it right,” he said.
“We‘ve added what we think is critical rather than the cream on top around innovation.
“We haven’t been together that long but they’re great human beings and great players and we’ve got to back them to be able to play the game.”
One of the critical elements is the development of the team’s identity, with Cron putting the onus on the players, led by Reece Hewat and vice-captains Nic Jooste and Angus Scott-Young
“I put it in their hands with some questions early in the camp, ‘What do you want people to think about you? What do you want people to say when you leave a ground or arrive and the boys has come up with what their identity is.”
“Anyone can write words down on a bit of paper, we’ve got to now bring them to life.
“So that’s their responsibility now to go, is to go, ‘Well, this is our identity, now make it real’.”
With short lead-ins and the inevitable turnover of underage sides, each team is somewhat of a mystery to its opponents and Cron said that would be the case on Friday night.
“They’re (Samoa) a bit of a closed book, like we are,” he said.
“They’ll be good, they’ll be strong, they’ll be physical, they'll be very hard, they’ll tackle hard. It won’t be an easy battle.”
The Australia U20s open their Oceania U20s campaign on Friday night against Samoa at 7pm AEST, LIVE on RUGBY.com.au
Australia U20s to take on Samoa U20s.
1. Harry Johnson-Holmes, NSW U20s
2. Efi Maafu, Queensland U20s, NSW U20s
3. Harry Chapman, NSW U20s,
4. Harry Hockings, Queensland U20s,
5. Ryan McCauley, NSW U20s
6. Angus Scott-Young, Queensland U20s
7. Liam Wright, Queensland U20s
8. Reece Hewat, Queensland U20s
9. Ryan Lonergan, ACT U20s,
10. Nick Jooste, ACT U20s
11. James Ramm, NSW U20s
12. Tony Hunt, Queensland U20s
13. Len Ikatau, ACT U20s
14. Dylan Riley, Queensland U20s
15. Jayden Ngamanu, Queensland U20s
16. Tom Horton, NSW U20s
17. Sama Malolo, Western Force U20s
18. Vaauli Faaumusili, Melbourne Rebels U20s
19. Lachlan Swinton, NSW U20s
20. Darcy Swain, ACT U20s
21. Theo Strang, NSW U20s
22. Jack McGregor, Melbourne Rebels U20s
23. Clay Uyen, Western Force U20s