GPS dominates final NSW Schools trials - Green and Gold Rugby

GPS dominates final NSW Schools trials

GPS dominates final NSW Schools trials

GPS v CHS scrum

The AAGPS dominated their two games against Combined High Schools yesterday, and having beaten CAS Schools during the week, their players were well-represented in the two sides chosen last night by the NSW selectors for the National Championships.

The day started wet and finished wet at Knox’s Curagul grounds, but there was enough fine weather in between to encourage some fine rugby.

Horton to England

Horton to England

GPS 38 – CHS 8

The GPS Ones had thrashed CAS Ones during the week but the CHS lads proved to be tougher opponents in the feature game of the day.

First half

The opening was even as the CHS did not take a backward step against their more-fancied rivals, and they opened the scoring with a penalty goal.

But about twelve minutes in GPS flyhalf Jack McGregor started one of many GPS attacks he launched on the day and after several sets of hands had moved the ball, 13 Simon Kennewell score out wide.

A few minutes later after some high-calibre lead up work and a tap kick, 12 Dan England scored the second GPS try.

Dan England try

Dan England – scoring second try for GPS

This was followed by a snipe by GPS scrummie Theo Strang after Jack Mac launched another move with a long cut-out pass. Strang scored too easily after he seemed covered in snakes and spiders.

After extras added by McGregor, GPS led 19-3 about 20 minutes into the match.

If the backs were moving the ball well, the forwards were also.  Tall lock Ryan McCauley was dishing it out with the best of them and there was scarcely a grunter who couldn’t do the same when their core skills were not needed.

But CHS were gritty and when they got a lineout near the GPS goal line they were able to switch play back towards touch and scrumhalf Sam Reimer scored wide out.

It capped a good period of play for CHS and it served GPS right because they were incurring too many penalties now.

Ironically one penalty in favour of CHS turned out badly for them when they lost the lineout that followed.  McGregor, ran with the ball from his own half seeming to attract defenders to benefit his supports, but he kept going on a diagonal run to score in the opposite corner himself.

Half-time score GPS 26 – CHS 8.

Jack McGregor on the run for a try

Jack McGregor on the run for a try

Second half

The game was more even after the break despite some typical Sevens-type running from GPS fullback Tom Wright who made defenders look at him to see what he was going to do.

The GPS scrum started to dominate but it was from a maul that GPS scored their first try of the second half as no. 8 Max Girdler dotted down.

At last the efforts of Wright had effect as defenders followed him like the Pied Piper who was looking for supporting runners, but he kept going himself and scored in the corner.

About 15 minutes into the half the score was 38-8  to GPS, but that was about the time the light rain made a comeback to finish the day as it had started: wet.  Reserves came on now and there was no more scoring.

Final score: GPS 38 – CHS 8.

Thoma Wright - catch him if you can

Thomas Wright – catch him if you can

The players

As scrumhalf Harrison Goddard did in an earlier game so did flyhalf Jack McGregor show class beyond his years.  We are going to hear a lot of these lads in the years to come.

That should not detract from the fine effort of GPS scrumhalf Theo Strang who has been in cracking form this week with the pass and the run.

The GPS midfield was class and it is not easy to pick the best forwards though the aggressive way 7 Charlie Smith played with a bung shoulder for so long was remarkable.

CHS no. 8 Sam Musgrove had punishing game on both attack and defence and THP Harry Johnson-Holmes was noticeable in the tight and the loose.

Sam Musgrove - one of best for CHS

Sam Musgrove – one of best for CHS

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  • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

    I played Rugby for a state school in Sydney and once a year we took on Barker College at Waitara. They were fitter, faster and made us look clueless. Frankly it wasn’t the flogging that hurt as much as the knowledge that we would never ever receive their level of coaching.

    I’m curious if Australian schools ever actually combine the various groups like CHS, GPS, etc to make a team that is taking the best talent available.

    • John Rugby

      Are you talking about NSW Schools and then Australian Schools rep teams?
      Because, yes.

      • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

        Yes precisely. Thanks for clarifying.

        Sounds like you’re saying that when Australian schools take on NZ schools, then the selectors can chose from all Australian school boys who play Rugby. Is that right?

        • Lee Grant

          Yeah – any boy who is U18 or younger can be chosen for Aus Schools, so long as they are also actually at school. If they have left school they can’t be chosen.

          There are not a lot of schools these days outside of the private schools and the Sports High Schools that play rugby compared to a few decades ago, when there were plenty. And there are not a lot of U17 and U18 teams playing on weekends, outside of Schools rugby, either.

          In NSW the Combined High Schools selectors (who choose players whether they play rugby for their schools if they can, or not) do well to get the best U17 and U18 boys to CHS trial matches but they are pushing the proverbial uphill to catch all the potential schoolboy stars.

          They catch a few in Colts – if an U17 or U18 boy is playing 1st or 2nd Grade Colts they will get the CHS fast track.

          Rob Horne and others got into the Aus Schools team through Colts and in 2014 Lukhan Lealaiauloto-Tui got in the Combined States side after playing 2nd Grade Colts in his first year of rugby. In 2015 he made the Aussie U20 team in his second season of rugby – in his U19 year – and it all started from CHS picking him in their trials and selecting him for their 2014 CHS IIs team.

          Unfortunately a lot of lads potentially available miss out, but the CHS do a pretty good job with the resources they have.

          I’m predicting that tracking the performances of boys in the Junior Gold Cup (for U15s and U17s) will help the CHS selectors immeasurably in the years to come..

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          Got it. Thanks for the effort Lee.

  • Johnno

    This is all good, but would be good if these comps merged, at least (CAS/GPS/ISA). Call it ISA. Either way get all these schools into the waratah shield.
    Some good talent out CHS way, just needs more competitive games and resources.


Voted most valuable member of the G&GR Forum since records began - Ed.

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