|The BMW Australia U20s side has been named for their third and final pool game of the 2016 World Rugby U20s Championship against England, at Salford’s AJ Bell Stadium on Thursday 16 June (kick off 4.45am AEST).
Head coach Adrian Thompson has made three changes to his starting line-up from the team’s 38-10 win over Italy.
Queensland Reds lock Lukhan Tui, who came off the bench to score one of the team’s five tries last weekend, has been promoted to the starting line-up with Izack Rodda moving to the reserves.
In the backrow, Melbourne U20s flanker Ikapote Tupai has been named to start at openside flanker, after missing the opening two matches of the tournament. Liam Wright moves to the reserves where Thompson has opted for a six-two split between forwards and backs.
In the backline, Toowoomba product Liam Jurd, who also scored off the bench against Italy, will earn his first start of the tournament at outside centre. Melbourne Rebels centre Sione Tuipulotu will move to inside centre.
“Off the back of his performance against Italy, Lukhan Tui has earned himself a spot in the starting line-up. Izack (Rodda) has played a lot of minutes for us so this is also a good opportunity to allow him to come off the bench,” Thompson said.
“Liam Wright has been excellent for us over the ball but Ikapote (Tupai) will bring a real physical presence to the forward pack. We’ll look to use them both at different stages of the match with the six-two split on the bench.
“Sione (Tuipulotu) will provide us with a solid ball-carrier at 12 and Liam Jurd has provided us with cover in a few positions so far this year, he’ll relish the opportunity to start.”
With England’s recent success at the U20s level, as well as the Wallabies loss to England in Brisbane this past weekend, the Australian team have plenty of motivation heading into the match.
“The clash against England has been one that we’ve had marked as an important game since the draw was announced. It’s a big occasion but it’s also a big match for England. As the host nation at home in front of big crowd, if there is any pressure heading into the game it will be on England.”
“England have made the last three finals and have won two of them. To get a win over England would be a good scalp for us to claim at the tournament.
“We don’t want to be spectators on Wednesday night. We hear a lot about the strength of Northern Hemisphere set-piece, but we’re going to fight that as hard as we can. We also want to put pressure on them in defence through good line-speed.”
Australia will face England in their final pool game of the tournament on Wednesday, kicking off at 4:45am AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS.
Australia U20s side to play England:
1. Vunipola Fifita – NSW Gen Blue U20s, Randwick