Australia A name side to face Tonga

Wed, Jul 12, 2023, 6:31 AM
Rugby Australia
by Rugby Australia
Catch all the action from the 15 try thriller between Australia A and Japan XV in Osaka.

Australia A coach Jason Gilmore has named his 23-man squad for Friday's highly anticipated match against the Ikale Tahi in Nuku'alofa.

Local heroes Folau Fainga'a and Taniela Tupou will pack down together alongside Tom Lambert with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Caderyn Neville starting in the engine room.

Lachie Swinton, Brad Wilkin and Seru Uru form a potent back row partnership while veteran playmaker Bernard Foley has been named captain and will link up in the halves with Jake Gordon.

James O'Connor and Joey Walton will combine in the centres with Corey Toole, Lachie Anderson and Jock Campbell rounding out the backline.

Australia A coach Jason Gilmore was pleased to name such a strong side and said excitement was high ahead of Friday's clash.

"Preparation has been good, the boys have been excellent and I think we're looking pretty sound," Gilmore said.

"It's great to have a few of our Tongan boys like Nela and Folau over here with us - we had a great reception at the airport and we're looking forward to a really special game for all our boys, in particular those with Tongan heritage.

"We've got a lot of guys who have captained at Super Rugby level and a lot of natural leadership around the squad but we think Bernard is a great choice to lead.

"He's got a lot of experience, played at two World Cups and just led Kubota to a win over in Japan - he's in form and will do a good job for us."

The match also commemorates the 50th anniversary of Tonga’s 1973 victory over the Wallabies at Ballymore with Classic Wallabies Geoff Richardson and John Cole set to join proceedings.

The Australia A Tongan tour continues Australian Government’s investment in the development of Rugby throughout the Pacific through the PacificAus Sports program and follows significant investment to support Pacific Rugby pathways in partnership with Oceania Rugby.

PacificAus Sports creates ongoing opportunities for Australian and Tongan athletes, coaches, and sports administrators to train, play and grow together. Australia A team to play Tonga at Teufaiva Stadium, Nuku'alofa on Friday 14 July, 3:00pm TOT/12pm AEST 1. Tom Lambert

2. Folau Fainga'a

3. Taniela Tupou

4. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto

5. Cadeyrn Neville

6. Lachlan Swinton

7. Brad Wilkin

8. Seru Uru

9. Jake Gordon

10. Bernard Foley (c)

11. Corey Toole

12. James O'Connor

13. Joey Walton

14. Lachlan Anderson

15. Jock Campbell


16. Lachlan Lonergan

17. Angus Wagner

18. Sam Talakai

19. Ned Hanigan

20. Harry Wilson

21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa

22. Ollie Sapsford

23. Josh Flook