'We're well advanced': Australia U20s primed for strong World Championships after maiden TRC

Wed, Jun 19, 2024, 4:17 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

Australia U20s coach Nathan Grey believes a promising Rugby Championship campaign has set his side up perfectly for July's U20 World Championships.

The Aussies were in pole position to take out the title after leading eventual winners New Zealand in the final 20 minutes before the Baby Blacks raced away to take out the inaugural event.

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It came off the back of a strong win over South Africa, beginning their tournament with a defeat to Argentina.

With the Australians drawn against Ireland, Italy and Georgia, Grey believes the Sunshine Coast event was the ideal way to prepare for the rigours of the World Championships in South Africa.

“The Rugby Championship was a great opportunity to test those five-day turnarounds, three in a row against world-class opposition," Grey said to the media.

“We’re well advanced of last year in terms of preparation and you can see that with the cohesion of the group with their friendships and the guys getting to know each other but also through our training.

“It’s a real advantage to have that and it’s going to set us up really heading over there.”

The Australians had a standout U20 campaign at last year's World Championships, finishing fifth despite dropping just one game to Ireland across the tournament.

It proved a launching pad for Super Rugby Pacific's breakout stars in 2024, with Tim Ryan and Darby Lancaster pressing their case for higher honours.

Grey wants to continue the process in 2024 as Reds flyhalf Harry McLaughlin-Phillips and Waratahs prop Jack Barrett headline the returning class from last year.

“Those things come off the back of playing really well as a collective as the Australian U20s," he said.

“We want to play our style, represent a lot of people over in Africa and look for this opportunity that come off that back of that around Super Rugby contracts.

“We’re really excited about that and we want to create a really good environment where the guys can perform to the best of their abilities.

"...We’ve got six or seven guys who have a lot of experience from last year so we’ll be leaning on those to educate the other guys around the intensity and the quality of the teams that we’re going to face.”

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