Australia Schools & U18s side named for New Zealand series

Wed, Sep 20, 2023, 12:45 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The U18s trans-Tasman series returns for the first time since 2019
The U18s trans-Tasman series returns for the first time since 2019

Rugby Australia has announced a 26-player squad for a two-match series against the New Zealand Secondary Schools.

The Australian U18s will face the Kiwis at Canberra’s Viking Park on 28 September and 2 October, with both games broadcast live and on demand on Stan Sport.

Watch every game of the U18 Trans-Tasman Series LIVE on Stan Sport. Start watching Stan Sport now.

“The Australian Schools & U18s program is a vital step in the rugby journey for these young men and the opportunity to play two games against New Zealand is an exciting one," coach Shannon Fraser said.

“Exposure to international rugby at age group level is essential as we develop the next generation of Super Rugby Pacific and Wallabies stars.

“In selecting this squad we considered not only the ability the players have already shown across provincial, club and school games, but also their long-term potential as future Wallabies.

“The challenge now lies in bringing them together as a group to perform against what will no doubt be a strong New Zealand team.”

Sevens call-up Aden Ekanayake headlines the squad, included as the 13th player for the final events of the 2022-23 World Series.

The squad is dominated by the NSW Waratahs Academy after they defeated their Queensland counterparts twice over the past week.

The series returns for the first time since 2019 when the Australian side defeated their New Zealand counterparts 18-14.

This team included current Wallabies Tom Hooper and Zane Nonggorr along with capped Wallaby Billy Pollard, Reds star Josh Flook and incoming Waratah Joseph Suaalii

2023 AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS & U18s SQUAD

Forwards

Lipina Ata (NSW Waratahs, Newington College)

Will Goddard (NSW Waratahs, Knox Grammar School)

Lachlan Doheny (NSW Waratahs, Eastwood Rugby Club)

Aden Ekanayake (NSW Waratahs, Gordon Rugby Club)

Austin Durbridge (NSW Waratahs, The Kings School)

Toby Brial (NSW Waratahs, The Scots College)

Nathaniel Tiitii (NSW Waratahs, The Kings School)

Sam Niulala (NSW Waratahs, Trinity Grammar School)

Avery Thomson (QLD Reds, Brisbane Boys College)

Lehopa Leota (QLD Reds, Iona College)

Fergus Gillan (QLD Reds, The Southport School)

Oliver Barrett (QLD Reds, St Joseph's Nudgee College)

Macarius Pereira (QLD Reds, St Joseph's Nudgee College)

Charlie Brosnan (QLD Reds, Brothers Rugby Club)

Wyatt Ballenger (Melbourne Rebels, Marcellin College)

Backs

Hwi Sharples (NSW Waratahs, St Joseph's College)

Boston Fakafonua (NSW Waratahs, The Kings School)

Brendan Palmer (NSW Waratahs, Hunter Wildfires)

Leo Jaques (NSW Waratahs, The Scots College)

Joe Walsh (NSW Waratahs, St Augustine's College)

Dre Pakeho (QLD Reds, Brothers Rugby Club)

Luke Aiken (QLD Reds, Sunshine Coast Grammar School)

Finn Prass (QLD Reds, Brothers Rugby Club)

Xavier Rubens (QLD Reds, Brisbane Boys College)

Joey Fowler (Melbourne Rebels, Sydney University Rugby Club)

Shane Wilcox (ACT Brumbies, Tuggeranong Vikings Rugby Club)

*Unavailable for selection due to injury

Trevor King (QLD Reds, Souths Rugby Club)

Frankie Goldsbrough (QLD Reds, Anglican Church Grammar School)

Hadley Tonga (NSW Waratahs, The Kings School)

SERIES FIXTURES

Game 1 - 2.10pm AEST Thursday 28 September - Viking Park, Canberra

Game 2 - 12.10pm AEST Monday 2 October - Viking Park, Canberra

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