Jordan Fulivai scored the match-winning try for the Australian Barbarians on Thursday. Photo: Jay CronanThey’re the group thrown together as “the best of the rest” in a bid to end the dominance of NSW and Queensland, and Australian Barbarians coach Russell Ingram believes his side can cause havoc at the national under-20s championship.
The Barbarians side is made up of the best players from Canberra, Victoria, Western Australia and country zones, combining their talent to take on the might of traditional powerhouses NSW and Queensland.
They passed their first test against Tonga on Thursday, with Gungahlin Eagles star Jordan Fulivai scoring a try after the siren to lift the Barbarians to a 40-36 triumph at Viking Park.
But their next challenge is against Queensland on Saturday before clashing with NSW on Monday and finishing the titles with a match against Fiji in Canberra on Wednesday.
“The boys are excited to be a part of it … it’s really set up for the Australian selectors so they can pick the best players,” Ingram said.
“By combining all of these guys, picking the eyes out of the best kids, we’ve got a pretty good side. We just lost to NSW and beat Queensland last year.
“Through Schoolboys Queensland and NSW dominate, but we put the best of the rest together and we’ve got a fairly good unit. The challenge is just pulling them together.”
Fulivai, the son of former Canberra Raiders cult hero “Prince” Albert, was called into the Barbarians squad only on Wednesday.
But the 18-year-old arrived at the perfect time to lift the Barbarians to a thrilling win against Tonga, finishing off an almost length-of-the-field build up to score the match winner.
The Barbarians team boasts 11 ACT representatives, including front-row trio Lloyd Harrison, Connal McInerney and Tyrell Lomax, who are rated as future Wallabies.
Wests junior Brode Leber will start at No.7 against Queensland, despite being just 17 years old.
“Jordan only came in when Jonah Placid was called into the Melbourne Rebels squad [to play Super Rugby] … We were a bit scrappy in game one.
“Leber’s come through the Wests juniors since he was seven years old. He’s not even 18 yet, we’ve got a support system around him so that hopefully he can develop through.
“In most of the systems, these boys are getting little opportunities to train with the elite team. It’s fantastic for their development.”
AUSTRALIAN UNDER-20s CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday: Australian Barbarians v Queensland at 1pm, NSW v Tonga at 3.15pm.
Monday: Australian Barbarians v NSW at 1pm, Queensland v Fiji at 3.15pm.
Wednesday: Australian Barbarians v Fiji at 1pm, NSW v Queensland at 3.15pm.
All games at Viking Park.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Wuxi Plastic Surgery Hospital.