Six Western Force players have been named in the 45-member Australia U20 squad for an upcoming camp following their strong displays during the Men’s U19 Super Rugby Championship.
Doug Philipson, Dane Sawers, Kauri Tipene-Grace, Tiam Toufan, Caleb Karangaroa and Manaia TeTana have all been selected in the squad to begin preparations for an expanded international campaign in 2024.
The selection is ahead of the squad's first camp in Canberra in February. In May next year Australia will host the first-ever Under-20 Rugby Championship, presenting the team with a valuable opportunity to test themselves against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.
The inaugural tournament will be an important precursor to Australia's campaign at the 2024 World Rugby U20 Championship in South Africa.
The Force finished the U19 Super Rugby campaign in fourth with one win and three losses, led by Palmyra scrum-half Philipson as captain.
Philipson was named in the U19s Team of the Week in Round 2 after a strong display against the Reds, also earning Player of the Match honours in the game from the Force coaches.
Kalamunda number 8 Sawers enjoyed a strong season as vice-captain and was named in the U19s Team of the Week in Round 2 as well.
Wests Scarborough winger Tipene-Grace scored three tries across the season, while UWA winger Toufan scored two, with both earning selection in the U19s Team of the Week in Rounds 1 and 2.
Wanneroo and Aranmore prospect Karangaroa was named in the Junior Wallabies squad in February.
Fellow Wanneroo talent TeTana was named in the U19s Team of the Week in Round 5, having scored in the Round 4 loss to the Brumbies.
Australia U20 head coach Nathan Grey said: "We are excited with the talent that has emerged from this year's Super Rugby Men's U19 tournament, and we believe the players we have selected have the potential to make a significant impact on the international stage.
“Our coaching team is dedicated to providing them with the support and guidance they need to flourish and represent Australia with pride."
Australia U20 Preliminary Squad:
Jack Barrett – Waratahs, Bryn Edwards – Waratahs, Jackson Stiel – Waratahs, Harvey Cordukes – Brumbies, Toby Macpherson – Brumbies, Dane Sawers - Force, Lachlan Hooper - Brumbies, Pat Sowerby - Reds, Sam Sahyoun- Brumbies, Tevita Alatini – Brumbies, Ollie McCrea - Waratahs, Charlie Brosnan – Reds, Joe Liddy - Reds, Arnie Tancred - Waratahs, Judah Saumaisue - Rebels, Macarius Pereira – Reds, Boston Morete – Brumbies, Drew Brndusic – Brumbies, Pat Gavin – Reds, Caleb Karangaroa – Force, Ben Di Staso – Waratahs, Manaia Tetana – Force, Jack Harley – Brumbies, Lington Leli – Brumbies
Dan Nelson – Brumbies, Cullen Gray – Brumbies, Lleyten Tautua - Brumbies, Divad Palu - Rebels, Jackson Ropata – Waratahs, Archie Saunders – Waratahs, Will McCulloch – Reds, Doug Philipson – Force, Joey Fowler – Rebels, Jakob Biet – Brumbies, Jullien Caillol – Waratahs, Kauri Tipene-Grace – Force, Angus Staniforth – Brumbies, Billy Dickens – Waratahs, Will Nason – Reds, Jarrah McLeod – Brumbies, Frankie Goldsbrough – Reds, Tiam Toufan – Force, Shane Wilcox – Brumbies, Eli Sagala – Brumbies, Thomas Hayes – Brumbies
Not considered due to injury or Super Rugby Pacific commitments
Oniti Finau, Trevor King, Nick Bloomfield, Ben Daniels, Leafi Talataina, Dom Thygesen, Ryan McGloin, Max Jorgensen, Harry McLaughlin-Phillips, Ronan Leahy