NEWS ARTICLES
O’Connor included in Australian team for Under-20 World Cup
May 07, 2009
Nine players with experience from this year’s Investec Super 14 have been named today in Australia’s Under-20 squad for next month’s IRB World Cup in Japan. The list is headed by last year’s Qantas Wallabies Spring tourist James O’Connor.

The 18-year-old O’Connor, who is touring South Africa with the Western Force at the moment, is included along with NSW Waratahs backs Kurtley Beale and Rob Horne, and the uncapped Australia Sevens and Western Force winger Dane Haylett-Petty, who are also currently in the Republic on Super 14 duty.

Queensland winger Rod Davies, NSW hooker Damian Fitzpatrick, Queensland lock Rob Simmons, Brumbies winger Afusipa Taumoepeau, Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua and Western Force hooker Ben Whittaker are the others selected who have featured in Super 14 this year.

The Under-20 tournament, which resulted from the merging of the previous annual Under-19 and Under-21 tournaments run by the IRB, debuted last year in Wales, where New Zealand emerged as its inaugural champions.

New Zealand beat England 38-3 in the final. Australia finished fifth after beating France 42-21, having earlier lost 13-18 to England in the decisive game of Pool C.

Five members of the Australian side from last year return – Horne, Haylett-Petty, Simmons, Queensland prop Albert Anae and Queensland and Australia Sevens halfback Richard Kingi.

While last year’s event has no direct influence on what may unfold in Japan, coach David Nucifora acknowledges the need to boost Australia’s standing in the Under-20 grade.

“Certainly last year’s finishing position was a little disappointing,” Australia’s High Performance Manager says.

“While that team didn’t have a lot of luck during its loss to England, we’ll be aiming to push our way further up the tournament rankings.”

Today’s squad has been selected after an extensive preparation which has included a number of camps where Nucifora and his high performance staff have worked with a wide group of eligible players.

“We are happy with where we’ve got to, in terms of the group we’ve been able to assemble,” Nucifora, who will be assisted by Anthony Eddy, says.

“A number of the players have already come through – either at state level in Super 14, or through the Australian Sevens programme. That has given us a good base to build from.”

Australia has been pooled alongside Canada, Tonga and Wales at the 16-team event, and will open the tournament against Canada at Fukuoka on 5 June.

The 26-man squad assembles at the AIS in Canberra on 21 May, and will later relocate to Sydney where it will play a warm up match against fellow competition entrant Uruguay at Sydney University on 29 May, prior to departing for Japan on 1 June.

The tournament final will be played in Tokyo on Sunday 21 June.

The Australia team for the IRB World Under-20 championships is:

Name

Surname

State

Position

Albert Anae

QLD

Prop
Kurtley Beale

NSW

Five Eight
Corey Brown

NSW

Wing
Nathan Charles

ACT

Hooker
Rod Davies

QLD

Wing
Kane Douglas

NSW

Lock
Damian Fitzpatrick

NSW

Hooker
Talalelei Gray

ACT

Back Row
Dane Haylett-Petty

WA

Wing
Rob Horne

NSW

Centre
Richard Kingi

QLD

Halfback
Kesomi Lolotonga

ACT

Prop
Sam Latunipulu

NSW

Back Row
David McDuling

NSW

Lock
Tom Murday

QLD

Lock
James O’Connor

WA

Centre
Jake Shatz

QLD

Back Row
Andrew Shaw

QLD

Back Row
Rob Simmons

QLD

Lock
James Slipper

QLD

Prop
Mark Swanepoel

WA

Halfback
Afusipa Taumoepeau

ACT

Wing
Ben Tapuai

QLD

Centre
Matt Toomua

ACT

Flyhalf
Nicholas White

ACT

Halfback
Ben Whittaker

WA

Hooker

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