Six Queenslanders Picked In Australian U20s for World Champs

Tue, Jun 11, 2024, 4:14 AM
by Queensland Rugby Media Unit

Winger Will McCulloch is excited about the Australian Under-20s building on their recent team cohesion when they hit the World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa.

McCulloch is one of six Queenslanders named in the 30-strong squad announced today for the kick-off in Cape Town on June 29.

Queensland Reds flyhalf Harry McLaughlin-Phillips is one of a trio of Souths players alongside 121kg prop Trevor King and No.8 Dominic Thygesen.

Prop Nick Bloomfield and strong-running Reds squad centre Frankie Goldsbrough, both from Easts, round out the Queensland contingent.

McCulloch showed his talent with two pacy finishes for tries in the 36-25 loss to New Zealand in May at The Rugby Championship U20s tournament on the Sunshine Coast.

He is both a positive sign of the development of players in the Buildcorp Reds Academy and proving you can make it from an unfashionable club like Norths.

“It’s awesome to be named in this team so we can get stuck in,” McCulloch, 20, said.

“The U20s on the Sunny Coast was a really good comp to build our experience.

“Playing NZ, we also learnt we have the skills and team to win those big games. Execution just let us down in a few moments. If we put a full 80 together, we can really make a mark at the world championships.

“All the Reds Academy boys have good bonds from a lot of time together.” McCulloch spends his Saturdays playing for Norths either in the StoreLocal Hospital Cup or the club’s strong Colts team.

“There’s a great team spirit in the Colts at Norths right now. I’m a Norths junior and I really want to help bring success to the club,” McCulloch said.

Goldsbrough, 18, is less than a year out of his schooling at Churchie. His progress was there for all to see with his first touch in his recent Premier Grade debut against Norths. He took the ball inside his own 22m, shared a pass outside and backed up to run the final 50m for his first top grade try.

“I can’t wait to go to South Africa for the first time. Being in camp with the U20s on the Sunshine Coast showed how high the skill level is,” Goldsbrough said.

“Training with the Reds all season has taught me heaps and all the decisions you have to make on the field come more quickly.

“Just learning from Josh Flook about positioning and timing in defence and the variety to Hunter Paisami’s game has really been helpful.

“It’s definitely good having Harry's experience in the U20s and knowing his skills.”

McLaughlin-Phillips played seven times for the Reds in Super Rugby Pacific and rose in clutch moments like his breakdown turnover on full-time when the Chiefs were beaten at Suncorp Stadium.

King returns to the U20s with extra experience and last Saturday’s strong scrummaging showing in Premier Rugby when Souths beat Norths 38-22.

“I’m keen to get to South Africa. I feel I can apply a bit of experience because that’s what you gain packing against a lot of different props at club and U20s level,” King said.

The U20s squad will assemble in Sydney next week for final preparations under head coach Nathan Grey and assistants Matt Cockbain and Ben Mowen, all former Wallabies.

Australia will face Georgia, Ireland and Italy in the U20 Championship pool stage with ACT Brumbies lock Toby Macpherson as captain.

“The opportunity for these young men to now come together and represent Australia on the world stage is truly special,” Grey said.

"What awaits us in Cape Town is a formidable challenge, starting with our three pool opponents in Georgia, Italy and Ireland.

"However, we're prepared and ready to embrace that challenge.”

Australia U20 Championship squad:
Queensland Reds

Nick Bloomfield – Easts

Frankie Goldsbrough -Easts

Trevor King – Souths

Harry McLaughlin-Phillips – Souths

Dominic Thygesen – Souths

Will McCulloch – Norths

ACT Brumbies

Tevita Alatini – Gungahlin Eagles

Harvey Cordukes – Uni-Norths Owls

Toby Macpherson © - Uni-Norths Owls

Jarrah McLeod – Canberra Royals

Dan Nelson - Canberra Royals

Angus Staniforth – Canberra Royals

Shane Wilcox – Tuggeranong Vikings

Jack Harley - Gungahlin Eagles

Lington Ieli - Tuggeranong Vikings

Kadin Pritchard - Gungahlin Eagles

Western Force

Boston Fakafanua – Sydney University

Ronan Leahy – Sydney University

Dane Sawers – Kalamunda Districts

Melbourne Rebels

Ottavio Tuipulotu - Eastern Suburbs

Australian Sevens

Aden Ekanayake - Gordon

NSW Waratahs

Jack Barrett – Randwick

Ben Di Staso – Eastern Suburbs

Bryn Edwards – Sydney University

Ollie McCrea – Eastern Suburbs

Archie Saunders – Warringah

Eamon Doyle - Sydney University

Hwi Sharples – Sydney University

Joe Dillon – Manly Marlins

Oniti Finau - Randwick