Junior Wallabies looking for confidence against Japan

World Rugby U20s Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A big win against Japan will keep the Junior Wallabies’ World Rugby U20 Championship semi-final hopes alive, but it would also give them a big dose of confidence, centre Isaac Lucas says.

To remain a chance of making the semi-finals, the Aussies need to beat Japan and New Zealand, after a loss to Wales, but a victory would also hand them critical momentum ahead of their final pool match against the defending champs.

“It'd be massive,” centre Isaac Lucas said.

“I think if we can put a good performance in for Japan, we'll all be confident going into that New Zealand game.”

The Kiwis bested Japan 67-0 in their opening match-up and Australia will need a big margin to keep their finals hopes alive, but they showed potential against Wales, with basic errors letting them donw.

Coach Jason Gilmore is expecting the Aussies’ defence to be tested against Japan, a side that can produce some exciting rugby if given the opportunity.

“They're a very quick and mobile side, they like to use the football and they've got a couple of big units in their team that like to slam the gainline, so we've just got to make sure we're on with our defence,” he said.

“It's crucial, if we drop this game, then we're out of the world cup, so it's a must-win game.”

The Aussies were left to rue a host of missed opportunities against Wales, but Gilmore said they had looked

“We've more looked at ourselves,” he said.

“We left a lot of points out there against Wales that we know that we need to execute better, so it's just more getting our processes right.”

Gilmore has rotated his halfback and captaincy for the Japan clash, with Tate McDermott starting ahead of Ryan Lonergan, a luxury he feels lucky to have.

“We're very lucky to have two halfbacks with Super Rugby experience,” he said.

“Ryan did a really good job in the first game and goal kicked well and Tate gets his opportunity against Japan.

“Both are in our leadership group and Tate captained in two games in the Oceania series so he's got experience.”

Though their attack showed glimpses in their opener, Lucas said the backline as a whole needed to work together better.

"Our communication needs to be better, we all need to be on the same page and I think we'll all end up on the same outcome if we're all switched on to the same call," he said.

The Aussies take on Japan on Sunday night, kicking off at 10pm AEST, replayed on FOX SPORTS at 8am Monday.