World Rugby U20s Champs: Pool A opponents have their say

World Rugby U20s Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

The Junior Wallabies kick off their World Rugby U20s Championship campaign on Thursday.

Australia will be looking to make the finals for the first time since 2011, but it won’t be an easy task.

They’ll face Wales, Japan and defending champions New Zealand in their pool, with only the pool winner guaranteed a semi-finals spot.

What are Australia's Pool A opponents expecting from the Junior Wallabies in France?

WHAT THEY SAID 

Wales captain Tom Reffell 

“There's going to be a lot of big players, maybe it’ll be a fast game, maybe intense so it's about matching that intensity and the physicality (of Australia)

“The pool games, playing against three really proud rugby nations so it's going to be a challenge for ourselves but we want to test ourselves against the best and we'll be looking to do that.”

Japan captain Hisanobu Okayama

 “Of course we understand that Australia and New Zealand are both really strong teams but we've been preparing a lot, we've been training hard, we've been preparing to win those wins.” 

New Zealand captain Tom Christie 

“I think it's going to be really, really exciting.

“Australia we've recently played at the Oceania tournament so we know a little bit about them.

“Any time you get a New Zealand vs Australia battle, it's always a battle so we're really looking forward to that.

“I've never played Japan. We've seen a little bit of what their country brings and they bring a really fast-paced game of rugby, so that's going to be another opportunity for us to try our arm and face different challenges.”

FIXTURES

All times AEST.

Thursday May 31

5am -  Australia vs Wales, LIVE on FOX SPORTS

Sunday June 3

10pm - Australia vs Japan, DELAYED on FOX SPORTS at 8am Monday

Friday June 8

5am - Australia vs New Zealand, LIVE on FOX SPORTS

HISTORY

Australia has made the semi-finals three times in the 11 years of the World Rugby U20 Championships, with a 2011 third-place finish their highest.

The past two seasons they have finished sixth, with their lowest-ever finish an eighth in 2012.