All eyes on New Zealand after Junior Wallabies thump Tonga

by Sam Phillips

While an 84 point win over Tonga is nice, Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore has urged his side to not accept that as the norm with a showdown against the New Zealand U20s awaiting.

Both New Zealand and the Junior Wallabies have cruised past Fiji and Tonga, putting up similar scores in the process.

That has set the scene for a Saturday showdown which will decide who claims the Oceania U20s crown, while also providing a yardstick as both nations look towards the World U20s Championship, which kick off at the end of the month.

"The boys have been working hard but we can't kid ourselves as well," Gilmore said after the 91-7 win over Tonga.

"Our first two opponents - full respect to them - but that's not the standard that we will face at the World Cup.

"So we just have to make sure that we don't accept that is the norm on Saturday."


Gilmore is expecting an archetypal New Zealand attack when the two sides meet on Saturday and the Australians will have a big inclusion on that front, captain Ryan Lonergan expected to start having missed the first two matches through a calf complaint.

"I think against any New Zealand side you have to bring that level of physicality," Gilmore said.

"They're a really big side right across the park but you also have to be smart against New Zealand.

"Their boys grow up playing rugby from a young age they're very good at anticipating what's going on on the football field.

"We have to bring that physicality and smarts to what we do."

Gilmore will have some welcome selection headaches - particularly in the halves and centres - as there is hardly an Australian player through the first two starts that has disappointed.James Ramm and the Junior Wallabies are in fine form. Photo: Sportography"We just said to the boys that the scoreline is irrelevant for us tonight," he said.

"It's all about the quality of our defence sets, attack sets and our set piece that we are looking for.

"It was all about what the boys were doing out on the field.

"We went with two bigger centres tonight in Tony Hunt and Iisiah Latu and they can certainly get us on the front foot, which is really nice.

"We've got some really nice ball players in Will Harrison, Lawson Creighton, Bailey Kuenzle and those boys do a really good job before Isaac Lucas comes on at the back end.

"He played really well in the first game."

The Junior Wallabies take on New Zealand U20s at Bond University on Saturday, kicking off at 7pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on RUGBY.com.au radio.