Fraser McReight playing for Australia at the 2018 Junior World Championships. Photo: Supplied
A 45 man squad Australian u/20 was announced for a training camp for the 2019 u/20 Oceania tournament in April and then the u/20 World Championships in Argentina was recently announced and is currently at camp in Canberra. The squad was trimmed down from the 55 who attended the previous camp.
Only Isaac Lucas, Semisi Tupou and Esei Haangana have Super Rugby experience while a significant number has NRC experience.
With a much longer lead-in preparation together, Gilmore said he believed the lack of star names wouldn’t be a negative.
"I would say we don’t have the absolute superstars we had last year but I’d say we will be a better team and a better squad this year, which is really exciting. We have a few of the boys back from the squad last year,” head coach Gilmore said.
"It just a neater pathway system and it progresses nicely up through clubs to our state systems and then to the national level. I am a really big fan of having to earn your representative jerseys in competitions below that, rather than just being picked in national or state teams.
"It’s great guys like Isaac Lucas, Semisi Tupou and Esai have got Super Rugby this year under their belts, which is great. Hopefully, a couple more boys can add to that but that’ll certainly be good experience back in with us. The pleasing thing with those guys is that even though we can’t access them with camps, they were part of our campaign last year so they are pretty familiar with the staff and our structures as well, so they should fit back in pretty seamlessly.”
The Aussie squad also contains several players who were on the successful Australian Schools and Under 18s tour of Ireland and Scotland.
"They’re obviously young, so you don’t want to apply too much pressure on them early,” Gilmore said.
"We have to make sure they mature mentally and physically to be able to handle themselves with higher level football. But obviously, someone like Will Harris has had exposure with the Waratahs through their Super Rugby trials and has done really well. He performed strongly in Ireland and Scotland on their Schoolboys tour, so those boys are coming along nicely.”
SQUAD Canberra Camp Training Squad:
Bo Abra (NSW), Oliver Barden (Victoria), Angus Bell (NSW), Darcy Breen (NSW), Oliver Callan (Western Australia) , Will Chaffey (Queensland), Liam Cornish (NSW), Joe Cotton (Queensland), Will Deardon (Queensland), Ethan Dobbins (Queensland), Ben Donaldson (NSW), Max Douglas (NSW), Max Dowd (Queensland), Will Goddard (ACT), Esei Ha’angana (Victoria), Brooklyn Hardaker (NSW), Jack Hardy (Queensland), Will Harris (NSW), Will Harrison (NSW), Isaac Henry (Queensland), Trevor Hosea (Victoria), Kristian Jensen (NSW), Nathan Lawson (NSW), Noah Lolesio (ACT), Lachlan Lonergan (ACT), Brody Macaskill (Western Australia), Michael McDonald (Western Australia), Fraser McReight (Queensland), Josh Nasser (Queensland), Mark Nawaqanitawase (NSW), Kye Oates (Queensland), Lachlan Osborne (ACT), Ben Paxton-Hall (Queensland), Byron Ralston (Queensland), Triston Reilly (AU7s), Henry Robertson (NSW), Egan Siggs (Queensland), Seamus Smith (ACT), Tristan Stanghon ( Queensland), Pat Tafa (NSW), Sione Tui (Victoria), Liam Usher (Queensland), Rhys Van Nek (Queensland), Jack Walsh (NSW), Joey Walton (NSW), Harry Wilson (Queensland), Michael Wood (Queensland), Finn Wright (NSW)