Aussie Schools to benefit from under 18s additions

by Sarah Friend

Australian Schools and under-18 coach Andrew Moloney says his squad will be gunning for an unbeaten tour when they embark on a northern tour this weekend.

The cream of Australian rugby's young talent have been in camp in Sydney this week ahead of departure on Sunday for a three-week tour of Ireland and Scotland.

They will face Ireland U19s, Scotland U19s, Munster Academy, Ulster Academy and Selection of Scotland’s Top Six Schools.

Moloney has so far been impressed with the level of commitment and professionalism from the recent school leavers.

“They’ll be tough, and they’ll be tough for different reasons,” Moloney said.

"These certainly no easy games over there with their academy structures they’ve obviously got an integrated approach.

"They had a long preparation together and they’ve had a number of games together.

"It is going to be a big challenge for us but it is something that we think we’re ready for and we’ll be able to do.

"Obviously, we want to win all five games that’s why we’re here at this level and we certainly clear on our purpose there.”

Moloney has made some big changes since the side fell to New Zealand School in their October test at Ballymore, Brisbane.

For the first time, Moloney has been able to bolster his squad with players who left school in 2017 but are still under 18.

Out of the 27-man squad, Moloney’s side consists of four players who have been out of school for a year with the inclusions Carlos Tizzano, Jackson Pugh, Viliami Lea and Max Douglas.

All three players have made their mark in various clubs since leaving school, playing at club and even NRC level. Moloney said that experience is highly beneficial when coming back to a school boys level.

“We’ve got a really great bunch of kids in here, there really focused on putting the effort in and I’ve been really pleased with their effort at training," he said.

"We’ve got some boys there who have been out of school for a year but are still under 18 and they’re certainly going to bring and add to our squad.

"Having that year of Colts football or out of the program has certainly been beneficial and they’ve certainly raised the standard at training.”

With limited time left to prepare Moloney and his men are putting everything into what little time they have at training before flying to Europe on Sunday.

“Probably the biggest challenge in these short preparations is that you’ve only got a short amount of time together," he said.

"We’re taking boys from three, four different states, trying to get them all on the same page and getting them all functioning as a unit. That’s always a challenge.

'We’ve had a number of new boys come in, trying to get them up to speed but they’re all blending well at the moment so we’re pretty happy with that.”