War Memorial visit lays foundation for Junior Wallabies

World Rugby U20s Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Junior Wallabies have added some perspective to their World Championship lead-in, with a visit to the Australian War Memorial on the eve of their departure for France.

Gilmore took his squad to the Australian War Memorial on Saturday, ahead of their departure for France and the World Rugby U20s Championship.

The Junior Wallabies coach said the move, that came at the end of a week-long camp at the Australian Institute of Sport, was about putting rugby in perspective for the side.

“It just gives the boys a good understanding and respect for what’s gone before them,” he said.

“Footy seems big, but when you look at longer things like that, it just gives you perspective.”

“It's all about experience and at the moment, footy's their life and for them to see what people their age not so long ago, what they actually sacrificed and what they gave up for our country, it's really important for them.”

Gilmore said he was happy with how the side had responded after the recent Oceania U20s, with the final game against New Zealand their biggest lesson.

“I thought the New Zealand game was good in terms of the boys discovering what the World Cup's going to be like, it's not going to be easy, which we said right from the get go,” he said.

“But until you play a quality opposition at that level, which most of the boys haven't played that level before, I think it gives them an understanding of what it takes physically and mentally.

“You can talk about it as much as you want beforehand, but until they actually feel what that style of game is like, then it's just words.

“Now they actually know the standard of the game and they understand when you clock off for a period against Kiwi teams, they're going to hurt you and they're certainly aware and working hard.”

They won’t have the services of Jordan Petaia and Harry Hockings, and a knee injury to Brumbies backrower Rob Valetini has the youngster in doubt as well, but Gilmore said a new schedule, that began with a series of camps at the end of last year, helped east that blow.

“We've been lucky to have the support of (national skills coach) Mick Byrne, in particular from the Wallabies, in giving us that style of program with the camps, which has been really good,” he said.

“What it's shown is with the Super Rugby guys, where we've had to rely on previously where they might get dropped in late, like a Harry Hockings or Jordan Petaia where the decision's been made not to have them, for us our preparation just keeps going.

“The boys that come in have been with us from day dot.

“That's where for those guys that aren't playing Super Rugby, it doesn't affect our preparation.”

The Junior Wallabies head to France on Sunday, ahead of their May 31 opener against Wales.


World Rugby U20s Championship 

All times AEST 

Thursday May 31 

5am - Australia vs Wales 

Sunday June 3 

10pm - Australia vs Japan 

Friday June 8 

5am - Australia vs New Zealand