NSW Waratahs U18s v Melbourne Rebels U18s: Standout Performers

NSW U18s showed their class in an impressive 53-19 victory over Melbourne Rebels U18s in Sydney on Tuesday afternoon. 

The young Waratahs will play Queensland U18s on Sunday afternoon, while NSW II will play ACT before the Australian U18s side is selected to play New Zealand U18s later this year.

Here are a handful of standout performers from Tuesday afternoon’s action. 

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Jack Barrett (Joeys), Bryn Edwards (Barker) and Harry Bell (Joeys) – NSW I

The NSW front row dominated the first half, with all three scoring a try in the opening 35 minutes. The Waratahs set piece was extremely solid, as was the work of the three big men around the park. Barrett scored another two tries in the first half, all from close range, to claim an unlikely hat trick. 

Joey Fowler – NSW I/Joeys

The NSW No.10 controlled the match brilliantly, particularly in a fairly tight first half. Fowler impressed with just about every touch but never overplayed his hand. A good sign from a promising young playmaker. 

Savelo Tamale – NSW I/St Paul’s College, Manly

Tamale, a product of the CCC or Catholic Schools’ pathway, made metres every time he touched the ball. The inside centre used his big body to break the advantage line repeatedly on Tuesday afternoon. While he had less opportunity with the ball, Tamale’s centre partner Ronan Leahy also impressed. 

Leafi Talataina – Melbourne Rebels

Skipper and No.8 Leafi Talataina showed why he has been promoted to the Rebels Super Rugby squad for next season with a standout performance in a losing side. Talataina scored two of his side’s three tries and broke the advantage line with close to every carry. A serious talent who should be in the mix for Australian Schoolboy honours. 

Earlier in the afternoon, NSW II defeated a NSW Invitational side 24-17 in a fairly even, if at times scrappy, contest. Several players impressed in the opening fixture:

James McGregor – NSW II/Newington

The Newington fullback was one of the smallest players on the field but easily one of the best and a standout for NSW II in what was otherwise a fairly disjointed performance. 

McGregor has pace, a free flowing running style and a massive boot. He’ll be an interesting one to follow in next year’s Shute Shield colts competition if he can add a little more size over summer. 

John Ryan – NSW Invitational/Knox

A big, strong, red headed No.8. What’s not to like about that. Ryan has a big frame and used it well with ball in hand and at the breakdown. He’s another with a little bit of size to add, but a very exciting talent none the less. 

Austin Durbridge – NSW II/Kings

Kings’ No.7 Austin Durbridge seemed to be at just about every breakdown and claimed a number of pilfers. Tough, hard working and good over the ball, Durbridge impressed in his side’s tight win. 

Julien Caillol – NSW Invitational/Riverview

Caillol seemed to make metres and have an impact every time he touched the ball at outside centre for NSW Invitational. The Riverview centre is a strong ball carrier and seems to understand when to inject himself into the game. 

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