REBELS fullback Jack Maddocks and Reds fly-half Hamish Stewart headline the Australian under-20 squad for the Oceania Championship on the Gold Coast, which kicks off later this month.
Maddocks and Stewart will provide valuable Super Rugby experience in coach Simon Cron’s 29-man squad that will face Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand with one eye on the World Championship in George in June.
Players unavailable for selection due to Super Rugby or Australian sevens commitments include Sham Vui (Force), Izaia Perese (Reds), Jordan Uelese, Esei Haangana, Sione Tuipulotu (all Rebels) and Liam McNamara, Henry Hutchison, Simon Kennewell and Lachie Anderson (all sevens).
Australia is looking to win the championship for the first time.
The series against New Zealand was 1-1 last year.
“We had a very short national camp last week and have coached some of the basic areas we need to do well to be successful,” said Cron, in his first season as under-20s coach.
“As a squad we had a chance to work on some cohesiveness in our ball skills and talk about key fundamentals around which we will base our attack and defensive systems.
“We’ll head into camp on the Gold Coast on Tuesday, April 25 and we need to continue on from where we left off.
“We have to keep building on the boys’ rugby brains as well as the tactical and technical coaching.
“There are some great boys in the group and I am looking forward to working with them more in detail over the coming weeks.”
The squad is subject to change depending on Super Rugby requirements leading into the tournament.
Australia under-20s squad
Harry Johnson-Holmes, NSW
Harry Chapman, NSW
Vaauli Faamausili, Victoria
Dan Matthew, NSW
Tom Horton, NSW
Efi Maafu, Queensland
Sama Malolo, Western Australia
Harry Hockings, Queensland
Angus Blyth, Queensland
Ryan McCauley, NSW
Darcy Swain, ACT
Lachlan Swinton, NSW
Angus Scott-Young, Queensland
Reece Hewat, Queensland
Liam Wright, Queensland
Angus Allen, ACT
Harry Nucifora, Queensland
Ryan Lonergan, ACT
Theo Strang, NSW
Hamish Stewart, Queensland
Jack McGregor, Victoria
Tony Hunt, Queensland
Nick Jooste, ACT
Dylan Riley, Queensland
Len Ikitau, ACT
James Ramm, NSW
Jayden Ngamanu, Queensland
Semisi Tupou, Victoria
Jack Maddocks, Victoria
Meanwhile, New Zealand has added former national secondary schools representatives Thomas Umaga-Jensen and Ciarahn Matoe to their squad for the tournament.
All Blacks apprentice Jordie Barrett is unavailable due to his Hurricanes Super Rugby commitments while Blues five-eighth Stephen Perofeta is ruled out with an ankle injury.
New Zealand coach Craig Philpott said he was pleased with the depth of the squad.
Umaga-Jensen is the nephew of All Blacks great and Blues coach Tana Umaga.
“We have been following Thomas’s return to rugby following his hip surgery in October last year with a view to inclusion in the squad,” Philpott said.
“He’s had three weeks of club rugby and is tracking well.
“We know what he is capable of after his time in the secondary schools team and he is a welcome addition now that he is injury-free.
“With Stephen and Jordie not available we needed extra cover at first five-eighth.
“Ciarahn’s time with the Chiefs under-20s squad has gone well and he proved himself with the New Zealand secondary schools team last year.
“This is a good opportunity for him and one I am sure he will make the most of.
“We had hoped that Stephen would be available for selection.
“However, it’s become clear he won’t be ready in time for the tournament due to his ankle injury.
“As has been the case in previous years, players have been deemed unavailable for the Oceania tournament due to their Super Rugby commitments.
“No final decision on their availability for the World Championship in Georgia has been made.”
New Zealand under-20s squad
Harrison Allan, Canterbury
Asafo Aumua, Wellington
Sam Caird, Waikato
Adrian Choat, Auckland
Tom Christie, Canterbury
Ryan Coxon, Waikato
Tim Farrell, Hawke’s Bay
Alex Fidow, Wellington
Luke Jacobson (captain), Waikato
Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Auckland
Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Hawke’s Bay
Dalton Papali’i, Auckland
Jacob Pierce, Auckland
JP Sauni, Auckland
Samuel Slade, Auckland
Pouri Rakete-Stones, Hawkes Bay
Isaia Walker-Leawere, Wellington
Caleb Clarke, Auckland
Ere Enari, Canterbury
Braydon Ennor, Canterbury
Tima Faingaanuku, Tasman
Tiaan Falcon, Hawke’s Bay
Will Jordan, Tasman
Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, Wellington
Orbyn Leger, Counties Manukau
Ciarahn Matoe, Taranaki
Josh McKay, Canterbury
Jona Nareki, Otago
Carlos Price, Wellington
Tamati Tua, Northland
Thomas Umaga-Jensen, Wellington
Oceania Championship fixtures
Round 1, Friday April 28
New Zealand v Fiji, 5pm AEST
Australia v Samoa, 7pm AEST
Round 2, Tuesday May 2
New Zealand v Samoa, 3pm AEST
Australia v Fiji, 5pm AEST
Round 3, Saturday May 6
Samoa v Fiji, 5pm AEST
Australia v New Zealand, 7pm AEST
Originally published as Maddocks, Stewart headline Aussie under-20s
SOURCE: newsnow sport