Four Melbourne Rebels young guns have been selected in the Junior Wallabies side for the World Rugby Under 20 Championships.
Trevor Hosea, Esei Ha’angana, Semisi Tupou and Sione Tui have all been re-selected in the squad following Australia’s first ever Oceania Rugby Under 20 Championships title.
All four players were part of the Australian side which won consecutive games against Japan and Fiji, while the group also played a key role in defeating the Baby All Blacks 24-0 in the championship game.
Hosea, who represented Australia in last years Under 20 World Cup, says it was a great honour for him and his family to make the final squad after working so hard for the selection.
“It’s a huge honour, it’s what I’ve been working for this year, it’s been one of my main goals, so to know that I made it is really special to me and my family as well,” he said.
Tupou, who also played in last year’s side, says it was great to be selected again, with the Rebels outside back brimming with excitement to help lead the younger members of the squad.
“Any opportunity you get to pull on that yellow jersey or get named in a squad on the international level is always a blessing … it’s something I don’t take for granted,” he said.
“For me personally, it’s my last year of under 20’s so I definitely want to develop a leadership role in this last year,” he said.
First time selectee Sione Tui says it was great to be recognised for his effort and commitment in the last year.
In his first year as a Rebels train-on squad member, the 19-year-old is thrilled at the opportunity to potentially wear the Green and Gold at a World Cup.
“It’s unbelievable, for me and my family,” Tui said.
“It’s been a goal ever since I was young to pull on the green and gold jersey and to start now at the Under 20’s, being selected in the world championship squad, it’s very good.”
With just under a month away from the tournament, Ha’angana says he and the Junior Wallabies team will look to fine tune skills and structures.
“We’re focusing on making sure we fine down all those details and really nail our structures.
I think heading into the three teams we face in our pool (England, Italy and Ireland) … there will be a lot of set piece focus,” he said.
The Junior Wallabies ended New Zealand’s four-year stranglehold on the Oceania Tournament since it was implemented in 2015.
Ha’angana says playing in the tournament was a great warm up for the team, while beating a quality side like the Baby All Blacks increased their belief.
“It was a terrific tournament, a lot of learnings came out of it … it’s good for our team especially just to get that head start before everyone else does heading into the World Championships,” he said.
The World Rugby Under 20 Championships kick off on June 4 in Argentina, with Australia taking on Italy in their first pool game.