Australia u20 continue to fight

Australia u20 continue to fight

Australia U20s coach Nathan Grey has backed his latest call-ups to thrive on the world stage after a brutal win over Georgia.

The 35-11 victory came at a cost with prop Jack Barrett breaking his leg, followed off the field by an ACL injury to Tevita Alatini.

On top of this, Ben Di Staso picked a rib cartilage injury, with Grey taking the duty of care option of not needling up the young gun, whilst Hwi Sharples did a significant hamstring injury before the game.

It's led to the call-ups of Waratahs quartet Nathaniel Tiitii, Billy Dickens, Will Goddard and Austin Durbridge, with the latter duo starring for the Australia U18s and Schools last season.

“Changes happen, a fair few more than what we would’ve wanted in week one but that’s footy and the guys have been training really well and are excited about the opportunity to take on the Italians tomorrow,” Grey said.

“It’s a jump but for those guys, it’s an opportunity to play some footy at a higher level and really test themselves so we should be excited about that.

“We certainly wouldn’t be putting them in that environment if we don’t think they could have the ability to perform really well and slot into the team.”

Grey and the squad are refusing to look too deeply into Italy's 55-15 defeat to Ireland, with the Italians upsetting tournament heavyweights France in February's Six Nations.

“You’ve only got to watch the Under 20 Six Nations to realise the quality that’s in the Italian team," he notes.

“I think Ireland got them on the hop and were able to capitalise on some turnovers, play their footy and put them under a bit of pressure.

“We know the quality that Italy have but we’re looking forward to matching our game against them.”

“You can’t take Italy lightly. They’re a strong team with a physical and got some speed out wide so they’ll pull the trigger and run from anywhere," vice-captain Dan Nelson added.

“I think for us, we need to stick to our processes. We know they love to kick a lot but if we retain those high balls and put them where we want we’ll be good to go.”

Latest News