Two Bondies will take to the field as part of the Junior Wallabies squad when they go up against Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand at the fourth annual Oceania Rugby U20s Championship at Bond University from today (Friday, 27 April).
Bond University Rugby Club’s Angus Blyth and Hayden Sargeant were recently named in the Australian U20s squad and are hoping that their home ground advantage will help give the Aussies the edge they need to win the Championship for the first time in 2018.
The Junior Wallabies arrived on campus earlier this week for their fourth camps in six months, while the Junior All Blacks arrive today. Both teams will stay and train at Bond for the duration of the three-round tournament which kicks off this evening.
Australia will take on the flying Fijians tonight, then will play tournament newcomers, Tonga on Tuesday 1 May, with the final match against arch rivals New Zealand on Saturday 5 May.
Bond University’s Director of Rugby, Sean Hedger said it was great to see the tournament return to the University in 2018 and for Bond rugby players to once again feature in the Junior Wallabies line-up.
“We have extensive experience hosting and supporting national and international rugby teams and tournaments, and our world-class facilities – including our brand new multi-million-dollar rugby club house - are second-to-none,” Hedger said.
“Hosting tournaments like the Oceania Championship cements our reputation as the high-performance venue of choice for top-level rugby on the Gold Coast and we are happy and proud to be involved with this event.
“I look forward to watching Hayden and Angus take on the best young players Oceania has to offer and encourage local rugby fans, Bond students and staff to come along and cheers them on, on their home turf.”
This is the second year that Angus Blyth – Bond rugby player, Bond business student and a recipient of the highly-coveted John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship - has made the Junior Wallabies squad for the Oceania U20s Championship.
Blyth, who earlier this month secured a two-year Super Rugby contract extension with the Queensland Reds said he felt very fortunate to be chosen again for a second year.
“I know a few of the Bond rugby boys missed out on selection this year due to injury, so I’m happy that I’m fit and healthy and ready to go again,” Blyth said.
“Playing against different players and countries from all over the world in the under 20s last year was an eye-opening experience, and definitely a step-up from what I was used to.
“It was my first time playing at an international level, and I was worried about things like whether I was good enough, if I knew everything I needed to, and remembered all the plays.
“Confidence is a big thing I’ll be taking forward into the competition this year as a senior member of the squad. I’ll be able to focus on bettering myself and becoming a better player, as well as helping everyone else out and bringing the team up to the same level of skills.”
Head of National XVs programs, Rugby Australia Adrian Thompson said: “The Oceania Rugby U20s Championship has become an important part of the calendar as we prepare the Junior Wallabies for the rigors of the World Rugby U20s Championship.”
“Taking on Tonga, Fiji and New Zealand will expose the Junior Wallabies to three very different styles of Rugby and will provide some great challenges for our players.
“Oceania Rugby’s commitment to developing Rugby in the region is shown by their investment in this competition and by continuing this commitment to playing it on Australian soil. The Junior Wallabies relish playing at home and we look forward to the big U20s season ahead.”
2018 Oceania Rugby U20s Championship Fixtures:
Round 1, Friday 27 April
New Zealand v Tonga, 5.00pm AEST
Australia v Fiji, 7.00pm AEST
Round 2, Tuesday 1 May
New Zealand v Fiji, 3.00pm AEST
Australia v Tonga, 5.00pm AEST
Round 3, Saturday 5 May
Tonga v Fiji, 5.00pm AEST
Australia v New Zealand, 7.00pm AEST
All matches will be played at Bond University, Gold Coast Rugby Fields – and entry for Bond students and staff is free for all three matches upon showing your Bond University ID card.
Admission to the general public is just $5 for Rounds 1 and 3 and free for Round 2, with children under 12 free. There is also plenty of free parking available on site at the Bond University Rugby Fields, 14 University Drive, Robina.