TEAM NEWS: Junior Wallabies name squad for world U20 championships

World Rugby U20s Championship
by Emma Greenwood

The Junior Wallabies have named their 28-man squad for the world U20 championships, ushering second-rower Nick Frost straight into the side in his return to Australian rugby.

Former Australian Schoolboys star Frost has only just linked with the Brumbies after returning from a stint in the Crusaders development system.

The former Knox Grammar standout had linked with the Crusaders on a three-year development deal but has now joined the Brumbies until the end of 2021 and the 205cm lock is likely to play a key role in the Junior Wallabies' campaign in Argentina next month.

Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore said adding Frost was a difficult decision given he had not taken part in any of the preliminary camps.

"Nick played Australian Schoolboys and has come through the pathway and then went over to New Zealand for 12 months and the Brumbies have just re-signed him so he's become available for selection for us but that was a tough decision for us because we've got a pretty settled squad," Gilmore said.

"But we just feel Nick will value-add to our set piece. He's a big athletic kid, so we're expecting good things from him.

Nick Frost is joining the Brumbies. Photo: Karen Watson

"Last year proved with Hocko (Harry Hockings) and Blythy (Angus Blyth), when you've got two locks over 2m tall, at kick-off and at lineout it's really crucial.

"And Frosty will add to our scrum as well, he's a big body and he's strong, so he'll certainly add something to our set piece."

Queensland front-rower Rhys Van Nek was also added to the squad despite missing selection for the recent Oceania U20 championships on the Gold Coast, which Australia won for the first time after beating New Zealand 24-0.

"Rhys has been to all of our camps and it's only Oceania that he just missed out on and he's been working hard at the Reds Academy as well, so he's a player already in the system and we've been watching him really closely," Gilmore said.

"He's played six games of (Queensland Premier Rugby) first grade at tighthead and that seventh prop position, which is usually a utility, we're just leaning more towards a tighthead/hooker than a loosehead/hooker.

"We've said all the way along we're still watching the boys in club footy and his performances in club footy have won him a spot at the World Cup."

Junior Wallabies captain Fraser McReight with the Oceania U20 trophy. Photo: Getty Images

Seven players that took part in the Oceania campaign were cut from the final squad that will face England, Ireland and Italy in Pool B matches ahead of the finals stages.

Queenslanders Egan Siggs, Tom Kibble, Byron Ralston and Liam Usher and NSW representatives Max Douglas, Oliver Barden and Nathan Lawson have missed the final team of 28 for Argentina.

"A number of those boys are good enough to play at a World Cup and they're playing good footy but unfortunately you've only got a certain amount of spots and you've got to look at the balance of your squad as well," Gilmore said.

"But guys like Byron Ralston, Max Douglas and Kibbo (Tom Kibble), they're all 19 this year. So whether an opportunity opens up this year through injury or whatever, they're guys that will look forward to next year and really looking forward to the charge."

The Junior Wallabies will head into camp on May 18 and will play a practice match against the Australian Barbarians on May 22 before flying out to Argentina just over a week later ahead of the world U20 championships on June 4-23 in Santa Fe and Rosario.

SQUAD

Triston Reilly (7s, wing); Noah Lolesio (ACT, centre), Lachlan Lonergan (ACT, hooker), Nick Frost (ACT, lock); Angus Bell (NSW, prop), Darcy Breen (NSW, prop), Ben Donaldson (NSW, fullback), Will Harris (NSW, No. 8), Will Harrison (NSW, flyhalf), Mark Nawaqanitawase (NSW, wing), Henry Robertson (NSW, scrumhalf), Pat Tafa (NSW, No. 8), Joey Walton (NSW, centre), Bo Abra (NSW, prop); Rhys Van Nek (QLD, prop/hooker), Joe Cotton (QLD, hooker), Fraser McReight (QLD, backrow), Josh Nasser (QLD, prop), Kye Oates (QLD, centre), Harry Wilson (QLD, backrow), Michael Wood (QLD, backrow), Isaac Lucas (QLD, flyhalf), Esei Ha'angana (VIC, lock), Trevor Hosea (VIC, lock), Sione Tui (VIC, wing), Semisi Tupou (VIC, centre); Michael McDonald (WA, scrumhalf), Carlo Tizzano (WA, flanker).

Junior Wallabies coach Jason Gilmore has finalised his squad for the world U20 championships in Argentina next month. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

SECHEDULE

World U20 championship, Argentina, June 4-23

Junior Wallabies v Italy, Tuesday, June 4, 11:30pm AEST

Junior Wallabies v Ireland, Saturday, June 8, 11:30pm AEST

Junior Wallabies v England, Thursday, June 13, 4:30am AEST