Faingaa hopes success runs in the family

(IRB.COM) Wednesday 16 June 2010
 Faingaa hopes success runs in the family
Colby Faingaa scored a try against Scotland - Photo: Martin Seras Lima/IRB

Australia have not tasted success at age grade level since the IRB Under 19 World Championship 2006 in Dubai and are determined to put that right by beating England on Thursday and then going on to lift the IRB Junior World Championship crown in Argentina.

If the young Australians realise their target then a common link will exist between the two winning sides with Colby Faingaa following in the footsteps of his twin brothers Saia and Anthony, who were captain and vice captain respectively of the 2006 side who beat New Zealand 17-13 in the final.

A winners' medal for Colby would cap a remarkable month for the Faingaa family with Saia having made his Wallabies debut against Fiji on 5 June, the same day his younger brother scored a try against Scotland, while Anthony has played for the Australian Barbarians twice against England.

"They didn't really speak too much of it because at that time I would have only been 15 or so, so them winning the grand final didn't really hit me as much as it does now, knowing I am here in the same tournament and it is actually a possibility [to win it too]. It is such a big thing," Faingaa told Total Rugby Radio.

"Every game I play they are always giving advice, they are such a great help and really they just gave me the same advice they would give for another other game, just put your head down and do the little things right.

The ultimate dream

"It has been a very good year for us and we can only hope that things are going to keep getting even better. Our parents have always had great pride in us since we were young, they are always there, they are the ones who got us here, they have always been a great help and are always there."

The brothers have faced each other in the Super 14 this year, Colby playing for the Brumbies and the twins for the Queensland Reds, the younger Faingaa ending up on the winning side, but the 19-year-old has a long term dream.

"Playing together for the Wallabies would definitely be the biggest goal."

Faingaa has lost his race to be fit for the semi final with England, the foot injury that kept him out of their thrilling Pool C decider with South Africa last Sunday, which Australia won 42-35 to avenge their loss to the Baby Boks in the third place play-off in Japan last year.

"I was pretty devastated that I wasn't allowed to play [against South Africa]. I am trying to do everything I can to get back on the field. Watching the boys from the sidelines, it's such a hard thing to do, it was so intense just sitting there, it was just try for try."

First real challenge

South Africa provided the first real test for the young Australians, who had easily dispatched Scotland 58-13 and Tonga 67-5 to move to within touching distance of their second successive Junior World Championship semi final, and one Faingaa was relieved to see his teammates come through.

"I applaud the performance that the boys gave against South Africa. Sitting on the sidelines it was so hard not to just want to run out there, chuck a pair of boots on and get out there and just help. They really did dig deep for each other, and they have shown that they have got enough heart, enough passion and that when they put their mind to it they can play a great game.

"It was a great challenge for us. The forwards especially, they really stepped up to the plate, they knew that they were coming up against a South African pack that was a lot bigger and through film that we had seen they looked a lot more physical and we knew that we had to step up to it.

"The front row especially I applaud them, they played a spectacular game, they dealt with everything they had to to give our backs - we have got phenomenal backs as well - just to give them a solid platform to play off which really gave us the game.

"It is always good to know that you have got a great backline because we know we just have to do our job and then the backs, they will get most of the points for us. As long as we are doing our set pieces right, as long as we get our lineouts correct, as long as we know everything we are doing in scrums, then our backs should be able to dominate."

England: A new level

The Brumbies flanker, though, knows that beating South Africa will count for nothing if Australia do not beat England - runners up to New Zealand in the last two Junior World Championships - to reach their first age grade final since the success in 2006.

"If anything this game is going to be harder because coming into the semi finals everyone dreams of making the finals here," he explained. "That is why we are all here to play, we are all here to play in major finals, no-one really comes this close and then will give up, We are expecting a harder and tougher battle against England.

"We have seen a couple of clips of them, but we will probably go with the same kind of approach that we went with against South Africa. They are going to be big up front, it is going to be a very physical game and they are going to come out strong and hard and we have really just got to get rid of the mentality that we have beaten South Africa, we just need to start all over again really.

"As long as we do our key things right like our set piece we know we have got the players, we have got the fitness to keep going, we have got all the ability in our team, individually and as a team, so hopefully as long as we go out and we do what we have been taught and play the patterns that we have learnt we should be pretty right."

Best is yet to come

Australia are the leading point and try scorers in the tournament so far with 167 and 25 respectively - comparing to the 101 and nine of their semi opponents England - but perhaps worryingly Faingaa believes we have not seen anything like their best form yet.

"I think we have still got a lot more to improve on. Each review session we do there is always a lot of negatives, although they might be just minor things but in the big picture it could be the difference between winning and losing.

"To date there hasn't been a training session or a game we have played where everything has just gone perfect. The perfect game doesn't really exist, although we would love to play one, we would love to make the finals and play the perfect game, we have to be realistic here and know that some things are going to stuff up, it is just the way we react to that."

"I definitely think we have got the players here [to win the title]. We did come in as a bit of like an underdog team, we didn't really have as big names that we had in the past which is probably a good thing.

"Everyone has just bonded with each other and we have really become a team and we are all playing for each other and I reckon everyone is going to give everything for each player in the team so I think we should be pretty confident.