Eight Australian Schools & U18s players to watch

The 2022 Australian Schools & U18s squad was selected earlier this week following a series of games between the state based academy sides, all broadcast on NSW Rugby TV.

We spoke to NSW Rugby TV’s Hamish Bayliss to learn a bit more about a few of the players to watch this year and in the years to come. 

Jack Barrett (NSW Waratahs, St. Joseph’s College Hunters Hill)

The Joeys prop looks to have a big future ahead of him. Already a big body, Barrett is fantastic at set piece and equally as impactful around the park. Threw his weight around to score a hat trick against Melbourne U18s. 

Harry McLaughlin-Phillips (Queensland Reds, Souths Rugby Club Brisbane) 

McLaughlin-Phillips was named QLD Premier Colts Player of the Year on the back of a fantastic season for Souths in Brisbane and continued his form in the Queensland jumper. 

The flyhalf didn’t play in QLD’s big loss to NSW earlier this year, but helped turn the tide and led his side to an impressive win over their southern rivals last week. Will battle NSW’s No.10 Joey Fowler for the starting spot. 

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Hadley Tonga (NSW Waratahs, The King’s School)

Still in year 11, Kings’ winger Hadley Tonga is an absolute flyer and comes from the Marika Koroibete school of big, tough wingers. He’ll only keep getting bigger, better and faster as he continues to develop. 

Leafi Talataiina (Melbourne Rebels, Endeavour Hills RC)

The sole Rebels selection in the Australian U18s side, Talataiina was a standout in a losing side throughout the carnival and showed why he’s been added to the Rebels Super Rugby squad ahead of next season. A big, strong ball carrier, Talataiina is a nightmare for opposing defences. 

Dan Nelson (NSW Waratahs, Sydney University Football Club)

NSW No.9 Dan Nelson showed his class in earlier matches against QLD and Melbourne. Nelson missed his chance to play Australian U18s last year, but after a year playing colts at Sydney Uni, has returned an even better and more complete player. 

Caleb Karangaroa (Western Force, Aranmore Catholic College)

The big bodied lock from Perth starred for an ACT* side that upset NSW II on the final day of the U18s Carnival. Karangaroa battled back from an ACL injury a few years back and played close to a full season of Premier Grade rugby in Perth this year as a 17-year old. He still doesn’t turn 18 for a few months. 

Dane Sawers (Western Force, Kalamunda Districts RUC)

Another Western Force player who played with ACT* in the U18s tournament, Sawers also played a full season of Premier Rugby in Perth and looked every bit a senior player in his return to age-group rugby. 

The talented No.7 will battle Queenslander Joe Liddy for the starting No.7 jersey.

James McGregor (NSW Waratahs, Newington College)

A bolter who has played his way into the Australian U18s squad after missing selection in the GPS I and GPS II sides earlier this year, Newington fullback James McGregor has impressed with every opportunity in recent weeks. While he still has some growing to do, McGregor moves brilliantly and has plenty of X factor. 

*Four Western Force players were invited to play with ACT.

Love rugby? You’ll love the 100 Years of Rugby News coffee table book. Grab your copy today!

2022 AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS AND U18S

Jack Barrett (NSW Waratahs, St. Joseph’s College Hunters Hill)

Harry Bell (NSW Waratahs, St. Joseph’s College Hunters Hill)

Nick Bloomfield (Queensland Reds, Easts Rugby Club Brisbane)

Charlie Brosnan (Queensland Reds, Anglican Church Grammar School)

Ben Daniels (Queensland Reds, Anglican Church Grammar School)

Bryn Edwards (NSW Waratahs, Barker College)

Oniti Finau (NSW Waratahs, Barker College)

Joey Fowler (NSW Waratahs, St. Joseph’s College Hunters Hill)

Caleb Karangaroa (Western Force, Aranmore Catholic College)

Trevor King (Queensland Reds, Downlands College)

Ronan Leahy (NSW Waratahs, St. Joseph’s College Hunters Hill)

Joe Liddy (Queensland Reds, Easts Rugby Club Brisbane)

Will McCulloch (Queensland Reds, Norths Rugby Club Brisbane)

Ryan McGloin (Western Force, Joondalup Brothers Rugby Club)

James McGregor (NSW Waratahs, Newington College)

Harry McLaughlin-Phillips (Queensland Reds, Souths Rugby Club Brisbane)

Dan Nelson (NSW Waratahs, Sydney University Football Club)

Dre Pakaho (Queensland Reds, Anglican Church Grammar School)

Douglas Phillipson (NSW Waratahs, Barker College)

Jack Preston (ACT Brumbies, Queanbeyan Whites Rugby Club)

Dane Sawers (Western Force, Kalamunda Districts RUC)

Leafi Talataiina (Melbourne Rebels, Endeavour Hills RUC)

Savelio Tamale (NSW Waratahs, St Paul’s Catholic College, Manly.)

Hadley Tonga (NSW Waratahs, The King’s School)

Jaydon Viliamu (NSW Waratahs, Newington College)

 

Unavailable for selection

Lachie Hooper (NSW Waratahs)

Max Jorgensen (NSW Waratahs

Archie Saunders (NSW Waratahs)

Oliver McCrea (NSW Waratahs)

Shane Wilcox (ACT Brumbies)