Queensland U20s head coach Brad Thorn has named his side for their opening Super U20s Championship match of 2017, which will see them take on the Melbourne Rebels U20s in a 2016 Grand Final rematch at Crosby Park this Saturday.
Kicking off at 12:00 pm AEST, the match will form part of the Australian Club Championship match-day roster at Brothers and will be live streamed via Rugby.com.au.
Thorn has selected returning 2016 Queensland and Australian U20s openside flanker Liam Wright as his captain for 2017. Wright will be assisted by St.George Queensland Reds squad member Jayden Ngamanu as vice-captain.
“Both Liam and Jayden are examples of players from last year’s team who are having an impact on our current squad,” Thorn said.
“They’ve come along in leaps and bounds since last season, which is pleasing to see.”
2016 Queensland U20s representatives Wright, Harry Hoopert, Effie Ma’afu, Harry Hockings and Angus Scott-Young will be joined by newcomers Gavin Luka, Angus Blyth and Calum Ball in the starting forward pack.
Harry Nucifora and Hamish Stewart will start in the halves, with Tony Hunt and Dylan Riley named as the starting centre pairing. Fullback Ngamanu will be joined in the outside backs by wingers Sam Edwards and Will Eadie.
The reserve front row will feature Matthew Faessler, Lloyd Gorman and Joshua Nasser, son of former Queensland and Australian loose forward Brendan Nasser. Sunnybank’s Seru Masirewa Ganita and Patrick Tafa round out the reserve forwards.
University of Queensland’s Jordan Lenac, Alex Horan, son of Tim, and Lorenzo Skelton have been selected as the reserve backs.
Leading into the second season of the Super U20s competition, Thorn has a focus on developing his squad as players on the field and as people off it.
“Last year is done and dusted and we’re focused on 2017,” he said.
“As a man of Christian faith, it’s really important to me that my team is humble, has a strong work ethic, is respectful of their opponent and the game and strives for success in everything that they do. A sense of toughness and resilience is also crucial.
“We have no ego about our squad, we want to put our heads down, work hard and hopefully results will come and we develop some improved players who can push onto higher honours with the Reds.
“We’ve got guys who are now in the top squad after representing the U20s last year. That’s a big goal for us, to develop future Reds. Yes, we want to win, but I like to see potential reached. That is my biggest drive.”
Queensland U20s team to play Melbourne Rebels U20s, Saturday 25 February, Crosby Park:
- Harry Hoopert – Brothers, Jondaryan
- Effie Ma’afu – Wests
- Gavin Luka – Bond University, Gold Coast
- Angus Blyth – Bond University, Gold Coast
- Harry Hockings – University of Queensland, Bowen
- Calum Ball – Bond University, Gold Coast
- Liam Wright (C) – Easts
- Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland
- Harry Nucifora – Bond University, Gold Coast
- Hamish Stewart – Bond University, Toowoomba
- Sam Edwards – University of Queensland
- Tony Hunt – University of Queensland
- Dylan Riley – Bond University, Gold Coast
- Will Eadie – University of Queensland
- Jayden Ngamanu (VC) – Souths
- Matthew Faessler – Brothers, Toowoomba
- Lloyd Gorman – Sunnybank
- Joshua Nasser – University of Queensland
- Seru Masirewa Ganita – Sunnybank
- Patrick Tafa – Sunnybank
- Jordan Lenac – University of Queensland, Gold Coast
- Alex Horan – University of Queensland
- Lorenzo Skelton – Brothers