Aussie A Schoolboys win kicks off busy tour time to Japan

Japan is the fresh frontier for Australian rugby at multiple levels over the next seven weeks after a winning start today by the Australia A Schoolboys.The boys displayed the enthusiasm expected from the first Australian Schoolboys side to tour since pre-COVID 2019 with a 33-10 victory over Higashi Fukuoka High School in Kumagaya.The three-match tour ushers in a ground-breaking period in which Australia A, Queensland Reds, Western Force and Melbourne Rebels teams will also embrace tours of Japan.   A 70m try by energetic winger Finn Lawson, from Queensland’s Mountain Creek State High School, was a standout moment in the five-try showing.Fullback Riley Langfield, a world away from Bathurst’s St Stanislaus’ College, relished the good ball won by the forwards with two tries.Shore School inside centre Leo Bassingwaighte, with his strong defence and direct ball-carries, and darting halfback Nick Lamming, from Riverview, also stood out in the backs.Up front, Hills Sports High No.8 Luron Patea was a real line-bender with his heavy ball-carries. Also leading the way were flanker Harry Davis, of The Scots College, lineout leader Will Taylor, another Stannies product, and lock partner Seb Bush, of Northern Beaches Secondary College.

Winger Finn Lawson dives to score his long-range try in Japan. Photo: Naoki Morita, AFLO Sport

The Australian Schoolboys link with Japan stretches back 45 years to the famous 1977-78 tour when a young, hirsute Wally Lewis played inside centre and scored a try in the 42-0 win over Japan Schools in Tokyo on the stop off to London. “The boys were really excited, just ready to play,” coach Mark Moxon said from Japan.“We only missed a handful of tackles in the whole match and big forwards like Luron set the tone with the way they got through the line with their carries to give us momentum.“The boys are embracing every part of the tour. They bow to their opponents before kick-off and to the crowd after the game.“We have boys like our captain Seb Bush learning a little Japanese and big lads like Will McKinnon and Harry setting the pace with their sushi-eating levels.”Former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans again showed his feel for the game by talking with the schoolboys and offering the facilities of his Saitama Wild Knights club which plays at the Kumagaya Rugby Stadium.Former Wallaby Nick Stiles, the Rebels’ General Manager of Rugby, said Japan offered wonderful opportunities for Australian rugby on many levels.“We have a partnership with Kintetsu and actually share IP,” Stiles said of the Japanese club where he coached with Quade Cooper and Will Genia in the team.“Without a third-tier competition in Australia, playing matches in Japan has a strong upside and in a friendly time zone.”

Scheming halfback Nick Lamming in action for Australia A Schoolboys in Japan. Photo: Naoki Morita, AFLO Sport

The Rebels will face Kintetsu Liners on October 15 in Osaka, the Reds have a November 4 clash against Deans and the Wild Knights at Kumagaya and the Force have two games against the Urayasu D-Rocks in early November.The Australia A side will open a three-game tour in Tokyo on Saturday when the likes of Suliasi Vunivalu, Langi Gleeson, Tane Edmed, Ben Donaldson and fit-again Tom Banks can push for Wallabies selection in the November Tests.“I think working with Japan strategically is important and building those alliances,” Rugby Australia Chief Executive Andy Marinos said on Tuesday when speaking about the Force’s impending tour in November.“A part of the long-term strategy is how can we organically grow the market in Japan and USA and we’ve spoken about that.”Queensland Reds co-captain Liam Wright said branching out with off-season tours of Japan goes same way towards filling “the massive void” that exists with no tier between club and Super Rugby in Australia.“We were quite blessed with the National Rugby Championship providing more year-round footy and battle-hardening,” Wright said of the competition that ran from 2014-19.“There’s a gap that needs to be filled. The game for the Reds in Japan is a good focus and will give some squad players more opportunity to impress as well as a few of Queensland’s best club players.”Australia A Schoolboys 33 (R Langfield 2, L Patea, F Lawson, J Ingleton tries; F Lawson 4 con) beat Higashi Fukuoka High School 10Click Here: Milan soccer tracksuit