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AIC Rugby 2021

hughie

Frank Row (1)
will be very tight between iona, marist, lauries and padua this year. even pats might be well up in there. very competitive age group with good bunches of year 10s from 2020 in most schools. padua will have alot of the team returning and the sheer size of some of the boys in there will be a huge strength for them if there fit enough. lauries and iona always been outstanding in this age group and if coached well i can see them, particulaly slc being favourites. marist will have there hooker returning also have both there flankers who along with one new addition in the backrow i think theyll be very very present at rucks and hard to stop.
 

ricky wong 21

Frank Row (1)
News coming out of Villa that Ben Mowen is assistant coaching with the first XV. I'm sure that'll give the boys a boost and I'll think they'll need it considering the lack of first XV experience. Villa will struggle in the front row department next year with only one prop coming back who wasn't originally in the starting XV. Villa will really need to blood a few big boys from the current year 10's and 11's if they want there scrum especially to be anywhere near the strength it was in 2019 and 2020. A positive note is the rest of the forward pack seems to be quite strong. From what I saw in the 2nds the year 11's in that team were very aggressive mobile forwards but do lack size which will be a struggle against bigger schools. I personally think Villa will need to rely on their forwards next year, with the backline depth yet again being quite ordinary and the size pretty average as well. A positive note is the 2nds halfback being in year 11 this year was very impressive in defence and attack bit of George Stokes esk in my opinion. Gus Godwin going into his third year of first XV will be looking to make an impact, assuming he goes back to outside and not inside centre as outside is his preferred position. I can see Villa scraping a few wins together and possibly causing a few upsets if teams take them lightly however, I can't see them getting over Lauries or Padua.
 

PhilClinton

Peter Fenwicke (45)
I don't usually post on these schoolboy boards but thought what I am doing is relevant.

As a side project my company has been compiling data and surveys based around rugby participation at several AIC schools for a number of years now. The specifics of the report will be confidential until when/if we release the report, but from what we've gathered, 2021 could be the 'peak' year of AIC rugby for this generation.

Beginning with the graduating class of 2022, the data and survey results have indicated a below average reception to both player numbers and attitudes towards rugby union at these schools, when compared to prior year data. In fact for the graduating class of 2024 at one particular school, there is a possible outcome of 65 students playing rugby union in their graduation year, down from 140 in 2009.

Happy to shed some more light on this if people are interested. I know this forum is more used for talking about teams each week, but it will be interesting to see if there is a notable dip in play quality post the 2021 season.
 

Jets

Paul McLean (56)
Staff member
Might be a case of only the top level athletes participate and we move towards the US high school system.

I know at Terrace this year they only had 3 U12 rugby teams but huge numbers play basketball, COVID would have had some impact on this too.
 

Torpedo Punt

Herbert Moran (7)
I couldn't agree more. Eventually Rugby will become a First XV competition only. Sad but true. Same with rugby league in a different way. These sports along with Cricket were the basis of community sport. So I think these sports should ask why is Cricket going gangbusters ?? 1. Its very safe esp these days with helmets. 2. Lack of competition in Summer. 3. Involvement of girls. 4. "Peak sport" emphasis.

I think the professionalization of the GPS system has not helped them or us. It encourages "peak sport" rather than community sport. Ironically, this looks like backfiring on some GPS schools where entering your A team in the B comp is looking likely, if not already happening. This would mean that you really would have to buy your entire First XV as you cant step a whole team up from the Bs to the As in Grade 12.

Actually I think this is more obvious in club junior Rugby League. Because of the ubiquity of the NRL if a kid isnt on an NRL path by 15 they give up. So I guess you would say this is a problem in AFL except they are, incorrectly IMO able to avoid the safety issue...and boy dont they do well on the womens side. It is an attractive looking game when played by women. So they are not affected to the same extent.

The only good news is that you can see the First XV becoming, yes like in the US, bigger and bigger. Good off season but related topic.
 

PhilClinton

Peter Fenwicke (45)
Some really good points.

I think the AIC comp itself across all sports is in danger of becoming a legitimate second tier compared to GPS. The GPS schools will continue to invest more funds into building the best 1sts teams across all their sports. If the model changes towards more of a USA type high school system, the schools with the deeper pockets will be able to offer more, therefore really becoming a US College type system where you've got top tier schools and recruitment and secondary tiers.

Players at the secondary tiers are less likely to be noticed by the professional setups. This is already happening to some extent depending on who you ask, but it could worsen, from an AIC point of view.
 

Jets

Paul McLean (56)
Staff member
Cricket is an interesting comparison. From my understanding you can play grade cricket from 13-14, so in the club comp you have young guys in lower grade mens cricket. In school it works out fine as most of it's about numbers and it gets pretty social.

Hopefully they can find a solution. The life blood of club rugby is the lower grades and you need guys who play in the lower teams at school to continue on to fill these spots. I have mates who still argue over things that happened in a 4th XV game almost 30 years ago.
 

Torpedo Punt

Herbert Moran (7)
Some really good points.

I think the AIC comp itself across all sports is in danger of becoming a legitimate second tier compared to GPS. The GPS schools will continue to invest more funds into building the best 1sts teams across all their sports. If the model changes towards more of a USA type high school system, the schools with the deeper pockets will be able to offer more, therefore really becoming a US College type system where you've got top tier schools and recruitment and secondary tiers.

Players at the secondary tiers are less likely to be noticed by the professional setups. This is already happening to some extent depending on who you ask, but it could worsen, from an AIC point of view.


What do you mean by that first line ? The AIC is (mostly ) non sporting scholarship....therefore naturally seen as a second tier to GPS...always has been really...maybe thats what you mean ?? with the odd exception of course...swimming...someone took note of the times last year and AIC swimming was clearly dominant on times..St Peters would win GPS or any comp in Australia really...

Basketball and volleyball would be on par...(not as many scholarships there )....

When people talk on this subject I like to discuss what happened a couple of years ago at the Edmund Rice Basketball tournament....Terrace, Nudgee, Lauries and some big schools from down south got shown a lesson from St Jimmies in the Valley...I dont even know if they participate in an actual "conference"....sometimes its nothing to do with simply being in the "best" conference...but try telling people that....

Back to participation. This is all that counts the challenge for AIC is to get everyone a game against other schools....Colours cup is great and better than nothing but parents want to see their kid exposed to other schools.
 

PhilClinton

Peter Fenwicke (45)
Of course the AIC system has always been seen as second tier to GPS, but the gap has been widening to the point whereby it will be overtly advertised as second tier sporting options for students if we move towards the US high school varsity team type setup, becoming more than merely a perception. If you look back to the 03/04/05/06/07/08 QLD schoolboy teams, there was a very strong showing from AIC players, mostly from Marist College as they were very dominant back then (beating Nudgee and Terrace regularly in trial games) and there were also a number of Aussie Schoolboys from that bunch. These days there are closer to 5 or 6 AIC reps across the two teams.
 

drewprint

Nev Cottrell (35)
It’s an accurate and kind of depressing analysis. I went to an AIC school with a strong history of rugby and Queensland/Wallabies representatives. But it was already drying up when I was there (about 17 years ago), and has continued this downward spiral since. And I don’t think this is unique to my school - it’s endemic across AIC.
 

thierry dusautoir

Alan Cameron (40)
My understanding is that outside of rugby some of the gaps aren't as big as people believe.

I was under the impression that a couple of AIC schools play in State wide tournaments for Hockey, Volleyball and Basketball and consistently beat GPS schools.

Obviously this is a rugby forum and rugby is probably the biggest sport for scholarships but outside of rugby its not as clear cut.
 

Happyman

Ted Thorn (20)
It’s an accurate and kind of depressing analysis. I went to an AIC school with a strong history of rugby and Queensland/Wallabies representatives. But it was already drying up when I was there (about 17 years ago), and has continued this downward spiral since. And I don’t think this is unique to my school - it’s endemic across AIC.

there is plenty of talent across the AIC part of the issue is that GPS schools recruit from this pool particularly at around grade 9. The pool is not as deep but some good scouting will easily find good talent. The GPS boys always get the inside track on the selection table and therefore the loss rate of boys not continuing with Rugby is a very high.
as an interesting aside participation rates in AIC schools is higher than GPS schools. Most year they struggle to put together a 2nds
 

intheknow2012

Bob McCowan (2)
there is plenty of talent across the AIC part of the issue is that GPS schools recruit from this pool particularly at around grade 9. The pool is not as deep but some good scouting will easily find good talent. The GPS boys always get the inside track on the selection table and therefore the loss rate of boys not continuing with Rugby is a very high.
as an interesting aside participation rates in AIC schools is higher than GPS schools. Most year they struggle to put together a 2nds

How many Marist boys have been recruited to GPS schools over the last 15-20 years ? Zero
You think there might be a bit more to it ?
 

Bluebag

Banned
Old mate Japie has released his top 20 schools of 2020. Apparently not enough played in SA this year so didn't include any SA schools which opened up a few positions. BBC top of the Aus pile unsurprisingly, but no AIC school this year (ASH was 19 on the list last year). Guy does his homework.

 

Teh Other Dave

Alan Cameron (40)
One of the major issues with the 'quality' of the AIC comp is that its two largest schools have been in decline (one dramatic, the other far more subtle). The major upside has been the improvement of the schools that were mainly in the TAS red comp last century before the AIC breakaway (similar to the Iona sides of 1994-95).

The other issue is the GPS arms race, which has seen concentration of junior talent in a handful of schools, and it sounds like the AIC has been a target for some time now. Not great for the state of the game for a lot of reasons.

Maybe the comp isn't producing the Eales and Herberts that it was thirty years ago, but if kids are still getting a run and having good times with their mates of a Saturday, does it matter that much? They'll look back fondly on their time in the 1sts or 13Ds with fondness like all of us oldies do.
 

Torpedo Punt

Herbert Moran (7)
Agree with much of that but just a few points out of this on the positive side.....
1. There are still plenty of parents who dont take the GPS bait. I think sometimes people forget that.
2. The AIC brand of rugby is very attractive to watch, as in they throw the ball around without over dependence on "crash ball"....much better than reds and wallabies IMO.
3. At least if you are a kid at an AIC school you wont get tossed out because the school wanted to bring in some kid who has no connection with the school and hasnt been slogging it out there every game for the last 6 or 8 years like you have.
4. From your post........They'll look back fondly on their time in the 1sts or 13Ds with fondness like all of us oldies do.
5. Another in agreement from your post...the AIC as a whole is alot stronger than any TAS division ever was....Iona and Padua are a huge step up from St Pauls, Rosalie etc... ( no offence ).
 
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