8 Australian Schoolboys to watch
While Australian Schools fell short against New Zealand in Saturday’s annual Trans Tasman Schoolboy Test at TG Millner, there were a number of impressive individual performances from the home side against a skilful and well drilled Kiwi outfit.
Here are eight names to keep an eye out for in a few years time:
Lachlan Lonergan (Hooker)
Back for a second season in the Australian Schoolboys jersey, Canberra hooker Lachlan Lonergan produced another trademark robust performance against the Kiwis. Lonergan is hard as nails and has a motor that goes all day and if he continues to play this way for Tuggeranong in Canberra, he’ll likely join his older brother Ryan at the Brumbies in a few years time. Lonergan received the Bronze Boot on Saturday, awarded to Australia’s best against New Zealand.
Will Harrison (Flyhalf)
Will Harrison was picked as Australia’s captain and starting flyhalf despite missing the Australian Schools Championships through injury earlier this year and it didn’t take long to understand why. The young Randwick playmaker is composed, quick and has a huge boot and while the Australian backline struggled to execute at times on Saturday, Harrison showed plenty of individual potential.
Angus Bell (Prop)
Australia’s starting prop has only just turned 17 and certainly didn’t look out of place on Saturday against a big New Zealand pack. While Australia’s scrum struggled in the opening stages, it improved throughout the match, as Bell gained some invaluable international experience heading into his final year of school in 2018.
Albert Hopoate (Winger)
Still just 16, Albert Hopoate showed why he’s already being chased by a handful of league and union clubs with another strong showing on Saturday. While the young winger had limited opportunities in attack, Hopoate defended brilliantly out wide and saved a number of tries for the home side. Andy Friend has reportedly already contacted Hopoate about joining the Australian Sevens squad when he finishes school at the end of 2018, which could help keep the talented speedster in in the XV man game.
Charlie Rorke (Flanker)
After starring for the Australian Schools Barbarians last year, Riverview flanker Charlie Rorke earned promotion to the top schoolboys squad this season and didn’t disappoint. The big bodied backrower is a cross between Jack Dempsey and Sean McMahon and will be an exciting prospect to follow over the next few years.
Tom Kibble (Flanker)
Like Rorke, Brisbane Boys College flanker Tom Kibble is a big, strong ball runner that plays with plenty of energy. Kibble was arguably Australia’s best on Saturday after entering the game from the bench early in the match and helped swing momentum in the home sides favour late in the first half. Unfortunately, a mistimed tackle late in the game saw Kibble receive a yellow card with the match in the balance, but the flanker was still one of Australia’s best.
Ben Donaldson (Fullback)
Waverley flyhalf Ben Donaldson shifted to fullback for Australia’s two Tests against Fiji and New Zealand and showed his class in the unfamiliar role. Donaldson has tons of composure and kept Australia out of trouble on a number of occasions in both attack and defence on Saturday.
Trevor Hosea (Lock)
Victorian born lock Trevor Hosea signed with the Melbourne Rebels as a 16-year old before moving north to Brisbane to finish his schooling. The giant 204cm lock is already an imposing figure and proved he can use his size effectively on Saturday against the big New Zealand forward pack. While he’s not a polished product just yet, Hosea has tons of upside and will be exciting to watch in a few years time when he finishes growing. Hosea received the Merv and Iris Allen award on Saturday, which is given to the best team man in the Australian Schoolboys squad.