Coach David Nucifora has made 10 changes for the Australian Under 20s clash with Fiji in their second match of the pool stages at the IRB Junior World Championships in Italy on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST).
Following on from their impressive 54-7 win over Tonga on Saturday, Nucifora’s squad will meet a fired up Fijian outfit who went down by 12 points to France in their opening pool encounter.
Australia wasted little time against the Tongans, who they beat 67-5 in 2010 when the sides last met, after halfback Matt Lucas crossed in just the eighth minute to set the tone for the day. Australia took a 35 point lead into halftime, with skipper Colby Faingaa crossing just after the side’s returned to the field. Waratahs Academy playmaker Ben Volavola had a top night with the boot, converting five from six attempts, while Lucas also added two conversions for a personal haul of nine points.
Nucifora and assistant coach Anthony Eddy are still searching for the right mix in the middle, however, with the Australian front-row the first to undergo a complete overhaul, with experienced campaigners Scott Sio and Siliva Siliva joining JP Pradaud in replacing Tim Metcher, Hugh Roach and Paul Alo-Emile respectively.
Blake Enever holds his spot in the second row with Melbourne Rebels lock Luke Jones replacing Waratahs Academy forward Greg Peterson. Jarrad Butler, who started the game against Tonga at blindside flanker, has been shifted to No.8 to replace former Australian Sevens star Ed Quirk, with Western Force flanker Ted Postal named to start at No.6.
Skipper Colby Faingaa is the most notable of changes, with the brother of current Qantas Wallabies Ant and Saia making way for fellow Brumbies backrower Michael Hooper on the side of the scrum. Hooper will also captain the side in Faingaa’s absence.
Sydney University halfback, Eddie Bredenhann, has replaced Queensland’s Lucas with flyhalf Volavola one of just five retained from the 47-point victory at Stadio Mario Battaglini.
Apo Latunipulu will be replaced at inside centre by Simon Morahan, who will make his starting debut in the Australian Under 20s side – a feat he isn’t the first to achieve with the Morahan name, after older brother Luke debuted two seasons ago at the 2009 Championships. The young Reds Academy flyer was last season added to the Australian Sevens extended squad, alongside his big brother; however is yet to appear on the World Circuit. Morahan will partner another Waratahs wing Tom Kingston in the midfield.
2011 Super Rugby debutant Kimami Sitauti has been shifted from one wing to the other, replacing 2011 Sevens star Tevita Kuridrani on the left with Waratahs Academy livewire Damon Anderson slotting straight into the starting XV after only having arrived a few days ago as cover for the injured James Ambrosini. Anderson’s NSW Academy team mate Jacob Woodhouse has also been added to the electric Aussie backline after being named to start in the No.15 shirt, coming in for the Melbourne-born Rohan Saifoloi.
In the last three years, 26 Australian U20 representatives have gone on to earn Super Rugby contracts, and from that group, 13 have gone on to represent the Qantas Wallabies.
The IRB will provide live streaming of 10 matches via www.irb.com/jwc
Australia U20s Starting XV
Michael Hooper (c),