The Junior Wallabies will need to be wary of a New Zealand team that ‘lives off the scraps’ in a must-win World Rugby U20s Championship pool match, flyhalf Hamish Stewart says.
Stewart, who arrived in France on Tuesday as an injury replacement for the squad, said the Kiwis would pounce on any Aussie mistake in their Friday morning (AEST) clash.
“New Zealand, they're very skillful, they live off the scraps and that's what we're trying to counter,” he said.
“Our defence will be pretty crucial to try and knock their big forwards down and hopefully if we can knock their forwards down then we've got sharp backs, so hopefully we can execute on the sideline.”
The 20-year-old has been a Reds regular this season and his release for the World Championships was only confirmed after their Saturday night clash with the Waratahs, with the playmaker flying over with lock Harry Hockings and winger Jordan Petaia.
The trio was initially left at home as a required Super Rugby player, but with no more Super Rugby matches until after the June Tests, they were available to travel as injury replacements.
He was the key playmaker for Australia in last year’s tournament, and said he would be all the better with more Super Rugby experience under his belt.
“It's a very quick game, Super Rugby, especially with the players who are around,” he said.
“Obviously working a lot harder and you have to think a lot quicker because you don't get that much time, so that Super Rugby experience has really benefitted me a lot.”
Stewart was in the mix to be a part of the Wallabies training squad this week ahead of their Brisbane Test, before getting the Junior Wallabies call-up late last week.
Coach Michael Cheika joked last week that Stewart might have been avoiding him, having missed the coach’s calls to invite him to camp.
Eventually the two linked up but the Junior Wallabies’ campaign ultimately took precedence for Stewart.
“I did miss his call, which was a bit of a shame,” Stewart said.
“He just told me that I might be needed for the Wallabies training camp and then I got the call for the U20s so he said that takes priority, so that's about all.”
The Junior Wallabies must beat New Zealand in their final pool match for a chance to qualify for the tournament semi-finals, something that looks that little bit more likely with the addition of Stewart, Petaia and Hockings.
Australia takes on New Zealand in the World Rugby U20s Championship on Friday 5am AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.