Rugby Union: Wanderers juniors to anchor Australian 20s scrum

FOCUSED: Australian under-20s prop Harrison Chapman

FOCUSED: Australian under-20s prop Harrison Chapman

NEWCASTLE-born prop Harrison Chapman was “over the moon” to be selected in the Australian under-20s squad for the Oceania Championships but the Randwick tighthead won’t be satisfied until he is on the plane headed to Georgia for the World Championships.

AUSTRALIAN CALL-UP: Harry Johnson Holmes playing for Sydney University colts.

AUSTRALIAN CALL-UP: Harry Johnson Holmes playing for Sydney University colts.

Chapman and fellow prop and Newcastle product Harry Johnson-Holmes (Sydney University) are among nine NSW Gen Blue players in the 29-man squad to play tests against Samoa (April 28), Fiji (May 2) and New Zealand (May 6) on the Gold Coast.

“I’m over the moon to have been able to put myself in a position to represent Australia,” Chapman said. “It’s an honour and an opportunity to do the jersey proud and everyone who has helped me along the way proud.”

There are four props in the squad, which will form the core of the side to contest the World Championships in Georgia in June.

“I’m not taking anything for granted,” Chapman said.

“You are not guaranteed selection for the World Championships until you are actually sitting on the plane heading to Georgia.”

Chapman got a taste of a World Championship in England last year when called into the squad as an injury replacement for the final game against New Zealand. He didn’t get on the pitch but valued the experience.

“To got to Manchester and have exposure to that level made me hungry for more,” he said.

Chapman and Johnson-Holmes are Wanderers juniors and have played in many representative teams together, despite the former going to The Kings School in Sydney in year seven.

“We push each other and have a special bond,” said Chapman, who along with Johnson-Homes is in his second year in the Waratahs program. “We played a lot of footy together and understand each other’s game, which helps in the front row. We have taken different paths but we have know each other since we were 12 and it will be good to share the experience.”

Australia under-20s coach Simon Cron said the tournament would be another step towards Georgia.

“We had a very short national camp last week and have coached some of the basic areas we need to do well to be successful,” Cron said. “As a squad we had a chance to work on some cohesiveness in our ball skills and talk about key fundamentals around which we will base our attack and defensive systems. “We’ll head into camp on the Gold Coast on Tuesday and we need to continue on from where we left off. We have to keep building on the boys’ rugby brains as well as the tactical and technical coaching. There are some great boys in the group and I am looking forward to working with them more in detail over the coming weeks.”