Hometown hero: Country boy builds up to Australian debut
RUBGY UNION: Dalby athlete Lytana King-Togia is gearing up for his Australian rugby debut first international fixture in the Barbarians side taking on Samoa on Wednesday night.
Selected for his performance at the ASRU National Championships in July, the 17-year-old has spent the school holidays training among Australia's best schoolboy rugby talent.
The Our Lady of the Southern Cross College student said the camp was tactical and challenging but the team was blending nicely.
"We had a pretty hard training sesh on Friday and then on Saturday and Sunday was learning all about tactical and defensive patterns," he said.
"We've been learning a lot of new plays you have to master it in such a short time, it's a good learning experience."
Australia will go into Wednesday's game favourites with Barbarians sides undefeated against Samoa in four encounters since 2001, but with the Barbarians six days in camp to prepare, the Samoans have three wins on Aussie soil to their advantage.
Despite their short training period, Lytana said the Barbarians' preparation is good heading into the Samoan Test match and they will play to their strengths.
"I'm feeling pretty nervous but keen to play, it's been a while since I played a footy game," he said.
"They're probably bigger than us but we're more strategic in our game plan than what they do... we've both got strengths and weaknesses."
Lytana's selection for the Barbarians is his first chance to represent Australia in rugby, an opportunity he described as a dream come true.
He was grateful for the opportunity to play with the Barbarians and said it was important people in regional areas can be recognised for their talent.
"It's unreal... It means everything to me, coming from a little town and getting to play with the big boys," he said.
The Australian Barbarians will take on an undefeated Samoan Schools side at Knox Grammar, Sydney, in the final leg of the Pacific Islanders four match tour.
The game will be live streamed via the Australian Schools Rugby Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ausschoolsrugby) at 5.30pm on Wednesday.