Australia A
UnionAustralian Rugby Union
Emblem(s)the Wallaby
Coach(es)Jason Gilmore (2022)
Team kit
Australia A plays Japan in the 2008 Pacific Nations Cup at Level-5 Stadium in Fukuoka

Australia A is the second national Rugby union team of Australia, behind the Wallabies. Matches played under the 'Australia A' title are traditionally non-test match fixtures and often offer a stepping-stone to Wallaby national selection. Aspiring Wallaby players were given a chance to impress selectors during these games. In the past, the team would also play touring sides, such as the British & Irish Lions, or play mid-week games when the Wallabies are on tour.

History

Officially formed in 2001 as part of the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia, Australia A played host to the British & Irish Lions in a mid-week game and offered fringe Wallabies players a chance to impress the national selectors ahead of the test series. Australia A won the match 28–25, inflicting the Lions' first loss of the tour.[1]

Australia A next formed in 2003 as part of the 2003 Rugby World Cup warm-ups and 2003 June rugby union tests, where they faced Japan in back-to-back matches coming away with two victories in Osaka and Tokyo. Up until 2004, Australia A was used as a team to offer touring teams a chance to play mid-week matches or developing rugby nations a chance to play stronger opposition to maintain non-test match status. However, in November 2004, Australia A was used when the Wallabies toured Europe, whereby they played the French Barbarians in the lead up to the national sides meeting later on tour in Paris.

By 2005, Australia A had won every match they had played in, but after playing the Junior All Blacks (the All Blacks second team at the time) in 2005, their unbeaten run came to an end, losing 23–19 in Canberra.

In 2006, Australia was originally invited to take part in the inaugural IRB Pacific Nations Cup but decided against sending a team, stating a need to focus on domestic competition. However, Australia did however host two games in the opening stages of the 2006 tournament, where Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium hosted Tonga vs Fiji and later Tonga vs Samoa. Australia A later played two matches against Fiji after the 2006 tournament, and then joined the competition in 2007.[2][3]

In the 2007 Pacific Nations Cup, Australia A played 5 matches for 3 wins, 1 draw, and 1 loss. The team finished second in the tournament won by the Junior All Blacks.

In the 2008 Pacific Nations Cup, Australia A played 5 matches for 4 wins and 1 loss. The team finished second in the tournament won by New Zealand Māori. At the end of the 2008, however, the Australian Rugby Union decided to scrap the Australia A team, citing financial constraints. Australia withdrew from the 2009 tournament.[4]

Despite withdrawing from the Australia A programme, between 2009 and 2010, Australia fielded several XV sides against Home Nations clubs, and although not officially titled Australia A, the side was often referred to it with these games used for fringe Wallabies players. For the 2010 England tour to Australia, the ARU arranged for the Australian Barbarians Rugby Club to play two matches against the visiting England national team.[5] This side was nominated as the second national team and was, as such, essentially Australia A by another name for the England matches. The Australian Barbarians also played a pre-World Cup friendly against Canada in 2011.[6]

Australia XV also returned in 2016, when they played against the French Barbarians during the Wallabies Spring tour. The side was selected from a handful of fringe players and with the team not being the official Wallabies side, the selectors were able to select players from outside the Australian Rugby Union selection policy and chose players based in Europe.

In February 2020, Rugby Australia had hinted at a possible return of the Australia A side where they would face Tier 2 opposition to strengthen the sides.[7] However, any possible plans where paused due the COVID-19 pandemic, and in May 2022 having not formally participated in any event since 2008, the Australia A team was reignited by Rugby Australia to compete in the Pacific Nations Cup for July 2022 against Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, to take place in Fiji.[8][9][10]

Results

Date Venue Opponent Score Notes Competition
19 June 2001 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford  British & Irish Lions 28–25 2001 British & Irish Lions tour of Australia
5 June 2003 Nagai Stadium, Osaka  Japan 5–63
8 June 2003 Chichibunomiya Stadium, Tokyo 15–66
5 November 2004 Stade Jean-Bouin, Paris French Barbarians 15–47 2004 Australian tour of Europe
26 June 2005 Canberra Stadium, Canberra  Junior All Blacks 19–23
1 July 2005 Sydney Football Stadium Sydney 31–34
1 November 2005 Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux French Barbarians 12–42 2005 Australian tour of Europe
15 July 2006 Adelaide Oval, Adelaide  Fiji 47–18
22 July 2006 Olympic Park Stadium, Melbourne 80–9
1 November 2006 Swansea Stadium, Swansea Ospreys 24–16 2006 Australian tour of Europe
15 November 2006 Thomond Park, Limerick  Ireland A 17–24
21 November 2006 McDiarmid Park, Perth  Scotland A 20–44
25 May 2007 Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney  Tonga 60–15 2007 Pacific Nations Cup
2 June 2007 Coffs Stadium, Coffs Harbour  Samoa 27–15
9 June 2007 Willows Sports Complex, Townsville  Japan 71–10
16 June 2007 Carisbrook, Dunedin  Junior All Blacks 50–0
23 June 2007 ANZ National Stadium, Suva  Fiji 14–14
8 June 2008 Hakatanomori Stadium, Fukuoka  Japan 21–42 2008 Pacific Nations Cup
14 June 2008 Apia Park, Apia  Samoa 15–20
22 June 2008 North Sydney Oval, North Sydney  Tonga 90–7
29 June 2008 Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane  Fiji 50–13
5 July 2008 Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney New Zealand Māori 18–21
2 July 2022 ANZ National Stadium, Suva  Samoa 26–31 2022 Pacific Nations Cup
9 July 2022 Churchill Park, Lautoka  Fiji 18–32
16 July 2022 Churchill Park, Lautoka  Tonga 22–39
1 October 2022 Chichibunomiya Stadium, Tokyo  Japan XV 22–34 [11][12][13] 2022 Autumn Internationals
8 October 2022 Best Denki Stadium, Fukuoka 21–22
14 October 2022 Yodoko Sakura Stadium, Osaka 52–48
14 July 2023 Teufaiva Sport Stadium, Nukuʻalofa  Tonga 27–21 2023 RWC warm-up
27 August 2023 Stade Jules-Ladoumègue, Brou-sur-Chantereine, France  Portugal

Other matches

Matches played by the Australian Barbarians Club, Australia XV or Australia 'B' when selected as the second national team:

Date Venue Opponent Score Winner Competition
6 August 1991 Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane  Australia A 15–21  New Zealand 'B' 1991 New Zealand rugby union tour of Australia
3 November 2009 Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester England Gloucester 5–36  Australia A 2009 Autumn Internationals
24 November 2009 Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff Wales Cardiff Blues 3–31  Australia A
8 June 2010 Perth Oval, Perth  England XV 28–28 draw 2010 England tour of Australasia
15 June 2010 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford 15–9  England XV
9 November 2010 Welford Road Stadium, Leicester England Leicester Tigers 15–26  Australia A 2009 European Tour
16 November 2010 Thomond Park, Limerick Ireland Munster 15–6 Ireland Munster
26 August 2011 Robina Stadium, Gold Coast  Canada 38–14  Australia A 2011 Rugby World Cup warm-up
24 November 2016 Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux French Barbarians 19–11[a] French Barbarians 2016 November international
30 October 2020 TG Millner Field, Sydney  Argentina 15–19  Argentina 2020 Tri Nations series warm-up match
7 November 2020 TG Millner Field, Sydney 24–57  Argentina

Squad

On 5 July 2023, a 25-player squad was named for Australia A's match against Tonga on 14 July.[14]

On 10 July, Pone Fa'amausili and Blake Schoupp were called up to the Wallabies for their 2023 Rugby Championship match against Argentina whilst Taniela Tupou was temporality released by the Wallabies to join up with Australia A.


Head coach: Australia Jason Gilmore

Player Position Date of birth (age) Caps Club/province
Folau Fainga'a Hooker (1995-05-05) 5 May 1995 (age 28) 38 Australia Western Force
Lachlan Lonergan Hooker (1999-10-11) 11 October 1999 (age 24) 8 Australia Brumbies
Tom Lambert Prop (2000-11-20) 20 November 2000 (age 23) 0 Australia Waratahs
Sam Talakai Prop (1991-09-04) 4 September 1991 (age 32) 1 Australia Rebels
Taniela Tupou Prop (1996-05-10)10 May 1996 (aged 27) 47 Australia Reds
Rhys van Nek Prop (1999-07-17) 17 July 1999 (age 24) 0 Australia Brumbies
Angus Wagner Prop (1997-10-30) 30 October 1997 (age 26) 0 Australia Western Force
Josh Canham Lock (2001-02-01) 1 February 2001 (age 23) 0 Australia Rebels
Ned Hanigan Lock (1995-04-11) 11 April 1995 (age 28) 28 Australia Waratahs
Cadeyrn Neville Lock (1988-11-09) 9 November 1988 (age 35) 8 Australia Brumbies
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto Lock (1996-09-19) 19 September 1996 (age 27) 30 Australia Rebels
Lachlan Swinton Back row (1997-01-16) 16 January 1997 (age 27) 4 Australia Waratahs
Seru Uru Back row (1997-01-03) 3 January 1997 (age 27) 0 Australia Reds
Brad Wilkin Back row (1995-08-12) 12 August 1995 (age 28) 0 Australia Rebels
Harry Wilson Back row (1999-11-22) 22 November 1999 (age 24) 12 Australia Reds
Issak Fines-Leleiwasa Scrum-half (1995-10-02) 2 October 1995 (age 28) 0 Australia Western Force
Jake Gordon Scrum-half (1993-06-07) 7 June 1993 (age 30) 20 Australia Waratahs
Bernard Foley Fly-half (1989-09-08) 8 September 1989 (age 34) 76 Japan Kubota Spears
James O'Connor Fly-half (1990-07-05) 5 July 1990 (age 33) 61 Australia Reds
Josh Flook Centre (2001-09-22) 22 September 2001 (age 22) 0 Australia Reds
Joey Walton Centre (2000-05-27) 27 May 2000 (age 23) 0 Australia Waratahs
Lachie Anderson Wing (1997-08-27) 27 August 1997 (age 26) 0 Australia Melbourne Rebels
Ollie Sapsford Wing (1995-10-07) 7 October 1995 (age 28) 0 Australia Brumbies
Corey Toole Wing (2000-03-07) 7 March 2000 (age 24) 0 Australia Brumbies
Jock Campbell Fullback (1995-05-17) 17 May 1995 (age 28) 4 Australia Queensland Reds

List of Coaches

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Also known as Wallaby XV.

References

  1. ^ Clockwatch: Australia A 28-25 Lions
  2. ^ "'Australia A' to play Fiji in Adelaide and Melbourne". rugby.com.au. 9 June 2006. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Australia A to join Pacific Cup". BBC. 18 October 2006. Retrieved 19 October 2006.
  4. ^ Swanton, Will (22 December 2008). "Financial crisis forces sacrifice of Australia A". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  5. ^ "England to play Australian Barbarians". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 March 2010. Archived from the original on 29 January 2015. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Wallabies power Barbarians' victory". 26 August 2011. Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  7. ^ Australia A back on radar as World Rugby look to strengthen 'tier two' schedule
  8. ^ "Pacific Nations Cup returns in July for its 15th edition". World Rugby. 19 May 2022.
  9. ^ Williamson, Nathan (19 May 2022). "Australia A to return as part of Pacific Nations Cup". rugby.com.au.
  10. ^ Payten, Iain; Robinson, Georgina; Decent, Tom (5 May 2022). "Return of Australia 'A' team prompts eligibility jitters in Super ranks". Sydney Morning Herald.
  11. ^ "Tour Match: Japan vs Australia A". Australian Rugby. 1 October 2022.
  12. ^ "Nawaqanitawase adds gloss to Australia A win In Tokyo". 1 October 2022.
  13. ^ "Wallabies 2022: World Cup bolter emerges from Australia A win over Japan, score, analysis, video, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Langi Gleeson". Fox Sports Australia. 3 October 2022.
  14. ^ "Foley set for final World Cup audition as stacked Australia A side confirmed for Tonga clash". Wallabies (Press release). 5 July 2023. Retrieved 14 July 2023.
  15. ^ Decent, Tom (21 November 2016). "Former Australian captain Ben Mowen joins Wallaby XV for French Barbarians clash". Dublin: Sydney Morning Herald. Australia have named their Wallaby XV squad to take on the French Barbarians at Bordeaux with former captain Ben Mowen one of the new faces in a team to be coached by Scott Wisemantel.
  16. ^ "Jason Gilmore named Australia A Head Coach for Pacific Nations Cup". NSW Rugby. 19 May 2022.
  17. ^ Woods, Melissa (19 May 2022). "Australia A rugby revived for Pacific Cup". The Canberra Times.