Seven in contention for rugby World Championship

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Graham Croker

Sydney University Football Club (SUFC) has seven players in a 53-man squad to attend a selection camp at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for the IRB Junior World Championship (Under 20) to be held in France in June.

It is the second selection camp called by Australia’s Under-20 coaches Adrian Thompson and Sean Hedger to narrow down their squad for the Junior World Championship from 5-23 June.

SUFC players to attend the second camp are Chris Ingate, Silatolu Latu, Jock Merriman, Angus Pulver, Jim Stewart, Mitchell Whiteley and Tom Wilson.

Thompson said there were a number of different names at the second camp compared to the first, because he wants to see as many players as possible before making final selection decisions.

“In some positions we had a lot of players we wanted to have a look at, so this camp will be almost identical to the last camp but with some different players,” Thompson said. “The players will have a couple of rounds of club rugby before the final camp, so they’ve still got time to prove themselves.”

With two camps to go before selections are made, Thompson said the nature of the Junior World Championship and the fast turnaround between matches meant hard-working players would be given priority.

“We’re really looking for players who are willing to work hard because that’s ultimately what the Junior World Championship is about,” Thompson said.

“The first camp was quite good. We worked the players very hard, it was intense and physically demanding and there were certainly some players in attendance that put their hand up for selection.”

Australia are in Pool B of the Junior World Championship along with New Zealand, Fiji and Ireland. Pool A includes defending champions South Africa, with France, England and the US, and Pool C includes Wales, Argentina, Scotland and Samoa.

The US earned selection on the tournament after finishing first in the 2012 Junior World Trophy, while Italy was relegated to the Trophy tournament after finishing last in the 2012 Championship tournament.