30th November, 1999
BOND COLT MAKES JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM
Bond Colts halfback Harry Nucifora was yesterday named in a 28-man squad to represent Australia at the World Under 20 Rugby Championships next month in Italy. Just 18 in February, Harry may be the baby of the team but he played impressively in last week’s Oceania Rugby Junior Championships, after qualifying via Queensland Country and Barbarians teams. It shows other Gold Coast players that there’s a pathway, and they don’t have to travel to Brisbane or make state squads to win selection at national level.
Harry came on as a replacement and scored a smart try in his first match of the Oceania tournament and didn’t put a foot wrong in three appearances, leading coach Adrian Thompson to praise his play:
“Harry’s got a terrific passing game – he’s really impressed us.”
The thing is, they haven’t seen the best of Harry yet. His goal-kicking was superb in the Southern States tournament and National championships and, given the chance to start, he has the vision to direct a team around the park.
Harry will no doubt get more opportunities in Italy. Meanwhile, the squad will assemble in Sydney on Saturday before leaving on May 25th. Australia has competed in all 7 World Championships, with a best finish as runner-up in 2010. However we finished 8th and 5thin the last two tournaments and Thompson is hoping for an improvement this time.
“The inaugural Oceania championship gave us the chance to get some match fitness and sort out combinations ahead of the Worlds. The European teams have had their 6 Nations Under 20s for years, so it’s no surprise that England has won the last two titles. But we’ll be much better prepared this time.”
The young Aussies first match is against Samoa on Tuesday 2nd June.
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