Australian Schools Championships - the tradition continues - Green and Gold Rugby
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Australian Schools Championships – the tradition continues

Australian Schools Championships – the tradition continues

The Australian Schools Rugby Championships continues its glorious tradition next week in the picturesque grounds of St Ignatius College, Riverview. The event is not without controversy this year, as I discussed here a couple of months ago.

While Rugby Australia’s new Academy program kicked off last weekend, with the Queensland Reds Academy dishing it to the Melbourne Rebels Academy by the tune of 46-14. The Queensland Schools teams will be up against it next week, however, with most of their normal source of talent, the GPS Rugby schools, opting to prevent their students from trialing.

It’s part of the new development pathway that Rugby Australia are investing in in which Adrian Thompson, RA’s Head of Talent Management, suggests that the refocus on the Academy side, along with the metamorphosis of the Australian Schoolboys team into an Australian Under 18 team, came from a three month national school strategy group run last year led by Paul McLean.

While no longer funded by RA, this year’s schools tournament continues a tradition that dates back to 1969 when the first Australian Schoolboys team was selected to tour South Africa.  That tradition will continue, as inaugurated last year, when the Australian Schools and Under 18 team is named later this year.  Additionally, from next week’s tournament, an Australian Schools Barbarians side will be selected to take on Samoa Schools on 2 October in Sydney.

Tom Kibble (7), one of Barbarians best, has been promoted to Schools bench Photo credit: ARU Media

Tom Kibble (7) graduated from the Australian Barbarians side to playing NRC last year. Photo credit: ARU Media

While the Academy program will assist High Performance outcomes, there’s nothing quite like the experiences of a week long tournament to create memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a unique experience that breads values like inclusion, passion, friendship, respect and teamwork.

The Queensland side may not have the usual schools represented, but you can bet there will still be passion in the jerseys.  And some fantastic stories to go with it.  Such as Tom Cregon of St Philomena College, a school where his cohort of nine wouldn’t be able to field a rugby team. Or Noah Hartley who honed his skills at the Nogoa Red Claws in Emerald. Or Jasper Mellish from the Sunshine Coast who only quit soccer last year.  Or the towering Ben Rogers, from Ambrose Treacy College (formerly Nudgee Junior), who becomes his school’s first open schools state rugby representative.

Joining them is Keenan Timu, the brother of departing Reds Number 8 Caleb Timu. Currently in year 12 at Marsden State High, the alma mater of Maroons legend Cameron Smith, Timu has flirted with the idea of an NRL career but for now his eyes are set on rugby. Like his brother, the younger Timu is no push over. He plays a hard style of rugby centred around physicality with the ball.

All states will no doubt have similar stories to tell and, again, that’s one of the many positives of tournament rugby.  Players from many backgrounds coming together for a prolonged series of games and forming relationships that will be remembered for many years.


 2019 Oz Schoolboys DrawTeams:

(click to expand)

Victoria XV

Queensland 2s XV

Queensland 1s XV

New South Wales 2s XV

New South Wales 1s XV


Cav Baabaas


  • Who?

    Wow, that Qld 2nds team has a kid from a school in a town where there’s not even a Rugby club! I’ve seen that school play 7’s, it’s generally full of leaguies. So it’s unusual for them to have the idea of going for Rugby rep teams, or the opportunity.

  • formerflanker

    “The Australian Schools Rugby Championships are no longer funded by RA.”
    Looks like the Academy pathway is the only important one for RA.
    I’ll have to go back to the Ikea pathway map before I make a value judgement.

    • Who?

      To be fair, if the ASRU isn’t under RA jurisdiction, then why should club player fees – junior club player fees – be used to fund a competition that is generally full of kids who largely don’t participate in RA-sanctioned competitions..?
      That’s not to disparage the comp – any and every comp is a good thing. But if you’re outside the tent, and you’re affiliated with bigger tents, then it’s probably not unreasonable not to receive money.
      Must be fun trying to schedule these things though. The QRU’s state titles are on this weekend, so there’ll likely be kids from families at those titles this weekend, then off with their brothers to Sydney next week.

      • formerflanker

        Good point.

  • NSWelsham in London

    What happened to the Barker Hooker Billy Pollard? He was the Aus Schools Hooker last year in yr 11, has his form dropped that much or have they provided automatic selection for some? Or do NSW also have the academy system…

    • RugbyReg

      NSW have the academy system. He could well be in that team. They play this weekend so you’d like to see a squad announced soon.

  • Rugby Guru

    How does Dylan Cross not make the qld team?? he was brilliant last year, he kicked the sunny coast to victory last year in the under 16 qld state champs, was named best & fairest, he represented qld country at flyhalf & made qld for the sevens carnival at Ballymore. Some eye raising selections!!

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