Goddard ticking all the right boxes

World Rugby U20s Championship
by Sam Phillips

Harrison Goddard's immense talent has taken him places in 2017.

From Shute Shield at Randwick, to a Super Rugby debut with the Melbourne Rebels, Goddard has emerged as a player to watch after starring for the Australian U20s in Georgia.

Watch the 19-year-old play and it's easy to see why.

He gets to the breakdown quickly and clears the ball just as fast, boasts a pinpoint kicking game in general play and is a sharpshooter off the tee.

Add that to a slick pass and an eye for a gap either side of the breakdown and you have a talent that could develop into anything.

"Coming into this tournament I obviously wanted to get the starting spot but for myself, I wanted to be consistent and make sure I was getting the basics right," Goddard told RUGBY.com.au.Goddard has impressed in two starts at the World Rugby U20s Championship. Photo: ARU Media/Levan Verdzeuli"Making sure my passing was right on, making sure I was accurate at the breakdown and talking to the forwards."

Goddard has long been earmarked for higher honours, having been picked from Oakhill College for Australian Schoolboys honours in 2014 and 2015.

The internal drive to succeed is clear in speaking to the man so it is of little surprise that he was ready when an injury crisis struck the Rebels.

"I have been with the Rebels for about six months now and learned a lot about myself mentally and physically as well," Goddard said.

"To have made my debut (for the Rebels) was special so to then make the Australian team - it's been a big year but also a very enjoyable one."

Goddard forms part of an Australian U20s team that pieced together its best performance in recent memory against England.

The one point loss was tough to swallow but in truth, the Australians were the better team for the large majority of the match.

Coach Simon Cron said as much post match and Goddard couldn't help but agree.

"It was definitely pretty tough to take in," he said.

"In the lead in we were really clear on what we wanted to do and what we wanted to achieve.

"We set the bar really high and we had a talk at half time and we just wanted to keep our foot on their throat but it was just unlucky that in the end we didn't get the three points or the try.

"I think our set piece was really good, we dominated them and out wide we had a bit of pace out there with Izzy, Semisi and Hutch.Goddard spoke highly of Australian U20s coach Simon Cron. Photo: ARU Media/Levan Verdzeuli"Crony gave us a strong identity and he has always said that it doesn't matter whoever we play - whether it's the All Blacks or whoever - we needed to get our processes right and believe that we could take this thing out.

"We want to be the best and drive processes because they drive really good performances."

Attention now shifts to a clash with Italy on Tuesday night, from which the winner will progress to the 5th place playoff final.

"They're big boys and they've got a big forward pack and a big outside centre," Goddard said.

"We have got to stick to what we have been getting right.

"They have a lot of passion, the Italians, so we have to match that and take the emotional energy from them and take it to a new level.

"Playing for fifth spot, we want to finish strongly and prove to Australian rugby and the people here in Georgia that we have given this 100 percent and we can't wait to finish off this last week of the tournament."

The Australian U20s take on Italy on Tuesday night, kicking off at 9:30pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.