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NTS/Gold Squads

Discussion in 'Schoolboy Rugby' started by TheTruth, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. TheTruth

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    Lots of bias displayed in picking boys to join the elite squad. Think some of "selectors", particularly in QLD and ACT are shockers who have difficulty choosing lads that will continue in our game. Often the NTS seems to be a footy (not necessarily rugby) nursery
  2. #1? Larry Dwyer (12)

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    Has the NTS been going long enough to have produced successful graduates into the Wallabies?
  3. TheTruth

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    am sure they get it right some of the time but is it worth the money - wages etc etc - surely let these lads go through to Colts level and if any good they then get opicked up by academies - it just seems a lot fall through the cracks and ARU seems to be a bit desparate in terms of $$$$$$$$$$$$
  4. Hugh Jarse Rocky Elsom (76)

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    I think the issue is that the mungo's will sign them up, as they appear to do from about age 16 or so, if the ARU doesn't get their hooks into them pre-colts.

    The old enticement of a scholarship to a Rugby school doesn't seem to be as attractive anymore, and what scholarships there are do not appear to be funded by ARU - therefore no obligation implied or otherwise to the ARU on behalf of the recepient.

    Annecdotally the mungos even seem to be offering scholarships to traditional rugby schools for some of their rising stars with post school contractual obligations to mungoland for the kids.

    There are any number of schoolboy stars either playing both codes thru school, or just playing rugby for school, who are getting poached by mungoland recruiters.

    The ARU can not afford to leave development up to the colts programs of TNSS, and QLD Premier rugby clubs. I reckon it would be a case of too little, too late.
  5. Rothschild Banned

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    My feelings are that not so many fall through the cracks but the identification of some if not many of those labelled as tallented leaves an awful lot to be desired.

    Go back just over two years to the Qld 16's teams - 1st and 2nd that year and see how many have been taken up by the major s15 teams. While those teams came 1 and 2, for most of those players that was as far as they were ever going to go and some were only there because they performed well as 14 and 15 year olds. Don't let the fact that the teams came 1 and 2 cloud the fact that some players were just not national standard
    2 years later, how many of those 16's ended up in open Qld schools teams or Australia or Australia A either in 2009 or 2010.
  6. #1? Larry Dwyer (12)

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    As an ex-banker, J'ON probably has a spreadsheet tucked away somewhere comparing players on the NTS programme and their progress to where they are now?

    JON likes his KPI and whoever is in charge of the millions allocated to the NTS will have to justify the expenditure against those KPI on a regular basis.

    The ARU razer gang would be in to them like a schoolie into free grog if there wasn't a demonstrable and traceable link between the NTS graduates and higher level performance up to an including S15/Wobs.

    The actual NTS membership seems shrouded in secrecy. I reckon if you listen to the rumour mill at schoolboy ovals, for each kid genuinely in the NTS, there are about 10 kids claimed to be in the squad. Guess it makes people feel important if they can claim some knowledge of the NTS.
  7. Rothschild Banned

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    if you get along to actual NTS training you will get a pretty good ideas as to who is in the NTS, at least in the major centres anyway. You are right though, there are plenty who claim to be in the NTS and aren't, as there are plenty not in the NTS who should be and there are plenty in the NTS that have no right to be there other than they showed a flash of something at State champs as a 13yr old and have either long lost whatever they had or have been passed by more dedicated and long term talented players.
    holmsinator likes this.
  8. barbarian Nick Farr-Jones (63)

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    The issue a lot of NSW GPS schools are having is the NTS has a largely negative impact on a boys performance. Firstly the NTS deliberately pumps these boys up to believe they are god's gift to Australian rugby- for example last year's group were specifically told that they would form the nucleus of the 2015 World Cup squad. Some of these kids are only 16 FFS. So of course that expands their head several sizes, as they are made to believe they are a walk-up start for Rep honours. It has also lead to a sense of entitlement when dealing with S14 academies and the like- as opposed to just being happy with selection, some boys are making demands of top clubs and even S14 franchises just after they leave school, ie 'I won't play colts, I want a guaranteed first grade jersey'.

    The NTS also provides quite rigorous dietary, weight and training programs, which interfere with school programs. The NTS authorities don't apologise to schools for this, or provide compensation of any kind. It is simply a case of 'pulling rank'. This creates yet another rift between schools and the ARU, and can really effect smaller schools with only one 'star player'.

    Basically I think it is a poorly conceived idea run badly. The idea of a 'development pathway' from the NTS to the Wallabies will be deeply harmful as it actively excludes those who miss spots in squads picked on the basis of one or two trials (eg the National U16s). The selection of the Australian Under 20s is a testament to this, and is an absolute disgrace. Instead of scouring the best Colts players based on club form, the selectors simply pick players straight from the Australian schools side last year, and throw in a few NTS players that missed the Aus schools side due to injury or form. It really annoys me to think of the quality players who have given up the game because they weren't lucky enough to be put into one of these squads, and have thus missed out on any rep side for years after.

    The converse is also true- there are plenty of players around colts and schools rugby who are constantly picked for rep sides for no discernable reason other than they are in the NTS because of a good couple of games at the U16s carnival a few years ago.
  9. 120kg Winger Bob McCowan (2)

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    .And this is why we have no depth. Throw a heap of dollars at the very top end so nobody coming in at the bottom has any incentive to stay and work hard. Offer any kid who loves rugby the chance to get a part-time wage from it and they should jump at the chance. But with no money left to make these offers it's pick a winner and hope for the best. The rest can just suck it up or give up.

    There are literally thousand of players turning out every weekend in Sydney alone yet they struggle to find 4 (let alone 5) competitive S15 squads. Pull the other one.it plays Jingle Bells. The talent is there, we just have to stop offering too much money to the elite so we can develop the depth.

    The greater depth might even restore some pride in playing for the Wallabies for the sake of playing for the Wallabies. Could even drive wages down and then the ARU has even more money to spread around.

    Whoops, silly me. I've started expecting logic from rugby administration.
  10. Informer Ward Prentice (10)

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    Barbarian, I think you are way off the mark. The JGS coaching staff make no such promises to any of the boys, quite the contrary, they emphasise that hard work is required just to stay in the squad, with no promises made about what the end result will be. They regularly cull boys who don't make the effort and set high standards, way above any school program, which is what you would expect from an elite program. They actually go out of their way to sccommodate both school and JGS, but obviously have to pull rank when it comes to commiting to their training regime, which has changed over the years and is a lot more flexible.

    At the end of the day JGS is an attempt to create a pathway for talented players, starting around 16 until they finish school. It is hard chosing kids at this age but you have to start somewhere. Having been exposed to the system for 3 years my boy is playing colts next year having represented at state and national level. He is ready to serve his time and prove his worth just like all the other colts players. If he is good enough he will go on with it, if not then so be it. No promises were made, no special dispensation was given or expected. Would we do it all again, driving 3 days a week to training, waiting around and making the extra effort, absolutely. Manu and his team are dedicated, no nonsense professionals who deserve the highest praise.
    supporter, manlyboy, OppO and 2 others like this.
  11. WorkingClassRugger Steve Williams (59)

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    Manu certainly is no nonsense. From my experiences with him he's a hard man to please. Cut me from selection for the U17 NSW Suburban for walking 5m ( it was my third game of the weekend and second for the day, sue me I was tired) then told my old man about it. I'm from Campbelltown and the game was in North Sydney so it was a long drive home.
  12. barbarian Nick Farr-Jones (63)

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    I am not doubting the professionalism of the program. In fact one of my criticisms is it is too professional for 16-18 year olds, who should be out playing park footy and eating takeaway rather than focussing on diet plans and training schedules. But that is an issue I have with top level schoolboy sport generally, not just the NTS.

    I take your points Informer but you are seeing it from a different angle to what I am. I'm sure it can be fantastic for the boys to be exposed to the expert coaching and other perks that the program provides. And I am not against advanced coaching for talented players. But here are some statements I profoundly disagree with:

    Why should the ARU have the ability to 'pull rank' on schools? Who appointed the ARU as a greater authority than a school? I think that the school system (including academics and other activities) should be placed above all else. The NTS is about developing the individual player, but the school's aims are far wider, and benefit the boys far more in the long run. I am not saying that both cannot live in harmony, but I think we have the order wrong.

    Yes, indeed you do. And that age should be at least 18. We don't place 16 year olds in fast track programs to be lawyers or politicians or builders, we let them develop and be kids. I think the same needs to apply to rugby, and the NTS takes it too far.

    In the end I am against the NTS on a basic ideological level. I am not against elite training, but I think the scope and magnitude of the NTS program is too much for children of that age. I have no doubt the staff are very professional in what they do, but I think it is too much and will do more harm than good for Australian Rugby in the long term.
    Torn Hammy likes this.
  13. Iluvmyfooty Phil Hardcastle (33)

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    but I think the scope and magnitude of the NTS program is too much for children of that age


    I must disagree with your comments. The NGS selects players from all school groups and is aimed at developing these players once they are in school. The school programs you refer to a very good in GPS and CAS but how do the other school programs measure up to these. If we let talented players fend for themselves in say CHS or CCC then we risk losing them to Rugby as they have possibly inferior training and little enouragement to continue with rugby. If we were to leave out GPS and CAS then we set these scool associations outside the norm making them appear elite or the ARU is seen as being anti these schools.

    I know a number of the palyers involved in the program and they are all level headed mature individuals who love their rugby and enjoy the experience. The program does not interfere with their school committments or for those that are able to their club comittments. I do wish the players involved with the GPS,CAS and ISA could play club rugby but these schools will not let their 1st xv or 2nd xv to play club on a weekend
  14. barbarian Nick Farr-Jones (63)

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    You make some fair points there.

    I agree with the notion that some players from smaller schools need a bit of extra coaching and encouragement to stay in our game. However I think the answer to that question should be greater ARU investment in the schools themselves, rather than plucking individual talented players out and putting them in a specialist program. We should not just try to keep the talented guys in the game, we should try to keep anyone who wants to play! But I can see the need for something extra for the special ones, but I'm not sure whether the NGS in its current form is the right way to go.

    And I am not trying to cast aspersions as to the character of all the boys in the program. I am sure most are great blokes. But I do know first hand of some boys who come out of the NTS and Australian Schools thinking they are 'the next big thing' and the red carpet should be rolled out wherever they go. That is an indirect result of the ARU's emphasis on a 'pathway' from the NTS to Wallaby gold. The current emphasis on this promotes the idea of entitlement to the boys on the pathway, and makes it a real uphill battle for the boys not lucky enough to be put there.

    And it does interfere with school commitments, because these guys are on different programs to the rest of the boys in their side. Also I know of a school who lost a key player last year from an injury he suffered at an NTS training session. How can it not interfere? It puts in place wide ranging dietary, weight and training programs.
  15. Iluvmyfooty Phil Hardcastle (33)

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    from my first hand knowledge of the current program there is no strict dietry requirement placed ont he participants. They are educated as to what is good diet and the benefits of of an all round healthy regime in their lifestyles. As to a heavy weight program I ahve seen the boys schooled on teh benfits of technique in doing gym sessions and the players are not allowed to progress into heavier weights until the instructors are satisifed their technique is correct. The programs I have seen are not exhaustive nor I would consider them a heavy program.

    The traing the players do is two or three afternoons a week in the off season from 4.30 to about 6.00. The sessions are split between a field session and a gym session - each lasting about 45 mins. The field sessions involve the development and improvement of basic skills - forwards line outs and ruck and maul; backs kicking, passing, etc. the players are taught to think in game situations about what to do in certain situations and lines to run. Skill games are a big part of what they do.

    When the schools commence their seasons the NGS backs off and reduces to maybe one session per week for March and April. Once competitions commence the NGS stops and does not commence again until November. So as far as I can see the program tries to fit in with the schools and theitr programs. they do not try and do things that are too dissimilar to what the schools should be doing.
    manlyboy and country rugby like this.
  16. The_Brown_Hornet Michael Lynagh (62)

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    It's an interesting question on how to handle teenage athletes and their training. If you ask most of them, I think they'd jump at the chance to do more and learn from experts in their chosen sport. It has to be handled carefully, of course, and cannot be to the detriment of their academic commitments, but the kids who are driven enough to want to get the most out of themselves will lap it up. It's really no different from academic extension programmes for kids who want to push themselves a bit harder. It's how we encourage success in our society.

    If I think back to my time playing sport as a teenager, these pathways existed even back then. Every chance I had to train with guys better than me I absolutely ate up. When my kids are the same age they'll be encouraged to do the same, so long as it doesn't affect their schooling.
  17. barbarian Nick Farr-Jones (63)

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    There are some major differences between the NTS and an advanced academic program, though Hornet. Academics can be fairly easily quantified- test scores, IQ etc. Rugby is a lot harder, and at the junior level (especially around under 16s when the boys are in the middle of puberty) it is even harder still.

    I am very uneasy with the fact that some boys get a huge leg-up because of the fact that they were lucky enough to be picked in a junior squad, when selections for junior sides are skewed by so many factors. It is just one issue I have with the current development pathway in Australian rugby, which sees kids picking up S14 rookie contracts before they have even played a game of 1st grade.
  18. Informer Ward Prentice (10)

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    I do agree with this concern, the few boys who go direct to full S15 contracts (eg Luke Jones) have huge expectations placed on them. While the likes of O'Connor may succeed many more will wilt under the pressure. I would much prefer boys to be blooded via colts and then grade over at least 2 seasons before hitting the big time. I have no problem however with the concept of S15 academy squads where the boys play with their clubs and also train with the S15 academies, which is similar to the Kiwi setup.
    Lee Grant likes this.
  19. The_Brown_Hornet Michael Lynagh (62)

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    That's certainly a concern and I agree with you there. I'd like to think that club footy still has a place in developing the next generation and I think we all agree that it does (even the ARU). However, modern sports talent identification programmes like this one exist in nearly every game and were rugby to abandon it I think it would put us at a serious disadvantage in terms of attracting and retaining talented young men who have at least two other football codes to choose from (three if you count soccer).
    country rugby likes this.
  20. Lee Grant John Eales (66)

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    The two views are not incompatible.

    1. Having an NTS programme which may be flawed but is necessary because the other sports do it.

    2. Making sure that when they become school leavers they go through Colts first etc.

    barbarians quote should always be thrown back to the naysayers who rear their heads from time to time and say if they're good enough, they're old enough.

    It is just one issue I have with the current development pathway in Australian rugby, which sees kids picking up S14 rookie contracts before they have even played a game of 1st grade.

    Love it.

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