The under 19s champs, that will include teams from WA, Victoria, ACT, city and country teams from NSW and Queensland, and a Barbarians team, will also be a tool for Aussie rugby recruiters to keep the best schoolboys in the game — some of whom are lost to league at that age.
Whites Isiah Latu and Justin Sikimeti played for the Wallaby Under 20’s against their NZ counterparts. Latu started on the wing while Sikimeti came off the bench.
Latu went into the Wallaby camp recovering from an ankle injury but his display in the Oceania games led to his promotion to the unfamiliar wing spot as he generally plays centre.
Sikimeti has been on the fringe of selection and there are plenty of back rowers running around and again his form has been too good to ignore.
Hopefully both will return for the games against Easts next week.
In other news, Rugby Australia has re-jigged the junior Wallaby program with the Super 20s competition has now been canned and, like the Kiwis, Australia will now play an under 19s championship in September.
From that a wide squad of talent who will train in state academies, play club rugby and after a series of camps and tournaments, have around 11 weeks preparation together come the under 20s World Championship the following June.