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Australian Schoolboys & National Championships 2015

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Monty Python

Ted Fahey (11)

International Schools rugby to return to Brisbane in 2015. It has been a number of years since international schoolboy rugby has been played in Queensland and in 2015 Australian Schools with host the Samoan and New Zealand Schools in Brisbane. Along with Australian Schools and Australia A there will be a series matches in late September/early October where the future of southern hemisphere rugby will be on show. All matches will be played in Brisbane -


Entry for matches on the 28 September and 2 October: $10 Adults. Children and students with ID FREE


Allen Oxlade (6)
Any certainties in this age group. Jack McGregor and Tom Wright stand out at this stage from NSW GPS

Ben Dover

Frank Nicholson (4)
strong New centre, Kennewell, would be knocking on doors if he carries his form throughout early 2015


Watty Friend (18)
strong New centre, Kennewell, would be knocking on doors if he carries his form throughout early 2015

Agree Kennewell would be in the picture if form is good..biggest challenge for the scribes in NSW is without the National 16's in 2014, its hard to know whats coming through from QLD, and the other states.


Watty Friend (18)
The Kings 2nd XV scrumhalf or the Australian 1st XV scrumhalf? I would have a strong tendency to perhaps favour Goddard.
Theo Strang from Scots, GPS 1's, NSW 2's and outstanding form for Scots would be ahead on paper. Having said that Heaton is a fine player and should get a look into one of the GPS sides to stake his claim.

Lee Grant

John Eales (66)

Anybody know if Nucifora or Pilz are back at school in 2015?

They were handy scrumhalves for Queensland at the nationals this year.


Bill McLean (32)
After a long hiatus from G&G I come on line to be hit with the news that BrisVegas are now hosting the all of the key schools games! Out-bloody-rageous!

Obviously some key 'movers and shakers' within the ranks of the Banana Republic's schools union have covertly exchanged brown paper-bags in darkened alley ways with key ASRU officials!

Ah well I suppose 'bananas and mangoes' at halftime will be a novel change from the crappy old oranges they are used to getting here in NSW!

Hugh Jarse

Rocky Elsom (76)
Some interesting stats from an article on the Schoolboys Website:

"... ... ...With a little more than a month to the start of 2015 Super Rugby Competition the five Australian franchises have 155 contracted players – with some rosters yet to be finalised. Thirty-seven of the contracted players come from overseas (30) or rugby league (7). A breakdown of the teams shows the Australian Schoolboy pathway provides the vast majority (80%) of the home grown talent that will play Super Rugby in 2015.
Seventy-seven current professional players commenced their representative careers with Australian Schools or Australia A teams with an additional 17 playing at the Australian Schools Championships. The two oldest schoolboys still playing at this level are Josh Mann-Rae who represented Schools in 1998 and Ed O’Donoghue who played in 1999. The youngest players are from the class of 2013 and the most recent UK tour – Lolo Fakaosilea and Campbell Magney both playing for the Reds in 2015.
Twenty of this group also toured with the Wallabies on the Spring tour in 2014. A further 17 have played with the Wallabies. ... ... ..."

Now any data analysis is always a little imprecise, and as Disraeli was want to say: "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics".

The answer is usually 100% correct, but the question asked of the data to get that answer can be slightly misleading or downright obfuscating.

One thing I note from the numbers quoted above is that they do not include past SANZAR professional players, such as the likes of Daniel Halangahu, Mark Gerrard, Matt Henjack, Huia Edmunds, Brock James, Morgan Turinui, Rocky Elsom, Digby Ioane, Pat McCabe, etc, who were ASRU players between 1988 and 2013 and are either no longer playing or are plying their trade overseas or those on overseas Pro/Semi Pro contracts without a SANZAR background such as Lalakai Foketi, Fabian Natoli, David Morris. Nor does it recognise that some former ASRU "pathway" players are now top level full time professional athletes in another code such as Tuttle and Moeroa, or are full time with the Rugby 7's programme such as Jeloudev, Holland, Clark, Wells, Fa'alava'au and Wilkin. In some respects, this article sells the ASRU pathway a little short.

Regardless, one way of looking at the figures is as presented:
155 contracted SANZAR players in Australia
30 of these are from overseas, and 7 are from another code.
94 Previous ASRU "experience"
64 Australian Schoolboys​
13 Australian A​
17 National Schoolboys Championships​
24 "Bolters"

Of the 118 Australian Rugby players, 94 are "known" to the ASRU pathway, either through representing their State, Territory or Combined States at National Schoolboys Tournament, or being selected for Australian Schoolboys or Australian Schoolboys A, noting that there are (very) rare occasions where a player may be parachuted into the National Representative team without participating in the National Schoolboys Championships. This is usually because of an injury at the time of the National Championships.

The 24 currently contracted SANZAR players in Australia classified as "Bolters" were not selected to represent their State or Territory at the National Schoolboys Championships while they were at school for whatever reason, but they have subsequently applied themselves diligently enough in Colts and Grade football such that they are now full time professional athletes.

How much credit can ASRU really take for development of kids who do not attend "Big Rugby Schools"?
Of the 77 Australian Schoolboys/Schoolboys A, 61 attended "Big Rugby Schools" in QLD, ACT and NSW. This leaves 16 that hail from Vic or WA Schools, or NSW, ACT or QLD state or private schools that do not have active "rugby programmes". These 16 could be considered to be early "Bolters", having honed their rugby skills and prowess in Junior Village Clubs, and/or State/Territory RU sponsored age group development programmes.

1. Australia A is not selected every year. Over the period identified above by ASRU (1998 - 2013), Australia A team was not selected in 1999, or 2002.
2. Australian Schoolboys typically tour Europe every 4 years. In those years, the "usual" Australian Schoolboys squad of 23 is bolstered for the tour, mostly from former Australia A players. There are also periodic NZ tours (sometimes with a game or three in the Pacific Islands) and sometimes with no PI games. Again larger numbers of players qualify as Schoolboys in those years. Finally, there are the years when only 23 players (+ an injury call up or two) are selected for Australian Schoolboys for the two or three inbound "tests".

The Numbers (Highest Rep level only shown):
1998: 33 Australian Schoolboys, 10 Australian A
1999: 24 Australian Schoolboys, 0 Australian A
2000: 25 Australian Schoolboys, 14 Australian A
2001: 41 Australian Schoolboys, 7 Australian A
2002: 25 Australian Schoolboys, 0 Australian A
2003: 25 Australian Schoolboys, 18 Australian A
2004: 28 Australian Schoolboys, 13 Australian A
2005: 35 Australian Schoolboys, 19 Australian A
2006: 25 Australian Schoolboys, 22 Australian A
2007: 28 Australian Schoolboys, 23 Australian A
2008: 28 Australian Schoolboys, 11 Australian A
2009: 35 Australian Schoolboys, 13 Australian A
2010: 28 Australian Schoolboys, 22 Australian A
2011: 30 Australian Schoolboys, 24 Australian A
2012: 35 Australian Schoolboys, 17 Australian A
2013: 32 Australian Schoolboys, 16 Australian A

Another imprecise way of looking at the figures is to look at the numbers of players that have been on the Schoolboys/Schoolboys A pathway, and seeing how those stack up against the current 155 SANZAR contracted places in Australian Franchises. At this point it is important to recognise that not all players (probably most) at National Schoolboy Championships, and only some of the fortunate ones to be selected for Australia Schoolboys/Australia A, harbour genuine ambitions of becoming a professional athlete.

Recognising that many of the ASRU cohorts from 1998-2003 have finished their careers insofar as SANZAR is concerned, and that the 2012-2014 cohort are generally "not ready" apart from the exceptionally talented (or lucky) few, the records show that there have been 384 Schoolboys or Schoolboys A players over the period 2004 - 2011. Of these 384, only 64 have managed to hold one of the 155 available contracted positions with an Australian based SANZAR franchise for the 2015 season. 320 others have decided on alternate careers, or are still trying to obtain a professional rugby contract through an EPS or WTG.

Others have quoted figures that the average professional athletic career worldwide is less than 4 years. For every Brad Thorn, Richie McCaw and Justin Fletcher and Magic Johnson that have prolonged careers well beyond the 4 year average, there are lots of others who's professional athletic careers fall well short of the average of 4 years.

While it is a significant achievement to be selected to represent Australian Schoolboys, the bottom line is having a ASRU pathway stamp on your rugby CV certainly helps but is not essential if one harbours ambitions of becoming a professional rugby player. There is no substitute for an ongoing and sustained commitment to rugby excellence after ones schoolboy rugby career: in the gym, with the diet, with lifestyle choices, at training, and on the field.

The other bottom line is that the majority of those on the ASRU pathway will not become professional athletes, and in parallel with their commitment to making their School Association Rep team, State Team or Australian Schoolboys, they should apply themselves with equal vigour to their studies in order to give them the best chance of landing that University course, TAFE place, Apprenticeship or dream job that they desire.

With the 2015 Schoolboy season not too far away, I hope all are fit and well, and training and studying hard.
All the best for respective representative aspirations.

Should probably re-post this great contribution from @Brainstrust. Worth re-reading for those familiar with it, or for those seeing it for the first time:
... ... ... If a coach wants a certain type of player then he should have him. In terms of oz schools players not going all the way, doesn't mean the selectors are wrong or biased, it just means that at that point in time, they were the best available to them.

Good players stop playing after school, weaker players grow and develop and keep playing, it doesn't mean selection is wrong.

If you have heard Eric Rush the former all black speak he tells a great story about when he was growing up he always trialled but never got picked. His father would always say " don't worry because it's just one blokes opinion, maybe the next guy will think differently".

When he excitedly phoned his father to tell him he had been selected for the all blacks, his father congratulated him, but reminded him it's just one blokes opinion, don't get a big head, because the next bloke may not like you. That's my spin on selection, if you play well, sooner or later some one is going to see your skills suiting his game plan and you're in, doesn't mean everyone else was wrong.


Ted Thorn (20)
"Like" does not do justice to the quality of the information in your post, HJ, including the sentiments expressed in it.
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