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Australian Schoolboys & National Championships 2018

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The Nomad

Dick Tooth (41)
Lot of very good rugby players in Qld finishing school this year as 17 year olds.

Could make selections for next year very interesting, they will need to rethink the selection trials/process if you are also looking at all 18 year olds running around in colts rugby. Have seen plenty of lads go to another level a year out of school .
 

Garry Owens

Alan Cameron (40)
^Yessir there is

I guess my question for yourself and my Grandson , Garry Owen III , is how do you convene a fair trial within the dictates of School ( for 17 and 18 year olds ) and Club ( for those 17 and 18 year olds out of School and at Club playing Colts ) over the next 2 years ? ( in QLD moreso )

I say 2 years in QLD moreso , because , within 2 years all School Leavers will be U18 and you really shouldn't have many ( barely any to make a difference ) 17 year olds playing Club instead of School , unless , they are a State School kid - and the reality here is - beyond a needle in a haystack a State School Rugby kid is 90% + likely to be at a GPS School in QLD by Grade 11 - or if they are not they are most likely more chasing a League pathway and focusing on ( say ) U16 Junior State of Origin and then Mal Meninga Cup

Plenty of GPS and AIC Boys that are doing both , however , a small but growing trend that players from State School or Smaller Independent Colleges don't see the compulsion to be a GPS School in order to attract attention in either code

In NSW there doesn't seem to be as much of a structural issue as to what we will face here in QLD over the next 2 years as we align school leaving age ( more commonly across entirety of cohorts ) with NSW etc

Anyway ......this aside - re : Australian Schools and U18 - just have a fair trialling system where U17 and U18 boys whether they still be at School or at Club have proper competitive opportunity based on merit and not jaundiced agendas / prejudices ( insert joke here )
 
G

GingerBreadCrab

Guest
Wow, well that is an interesting fact that the boys were told this in July, when the model to blend Schoolboys and U18's was only announced on 21st September 2018;

This article below was on rugby.com and is dated 24th September. It refers to the announcement of the new model as being announced last Friday. (21st September)

I don't have any problems with whoever gets selected as long as the process is transparent and in the best interests of developing more rugby players for Australian rugby.

These players have been playing with the top notch U19 players and now they are going back to play with 17year olds.
A backward step for the boys who finished school last year and missed opportunity to develop players further from this year.

Why?

Ok, a couple of thoughts;

The format changes are decided upon and known to everyone who is relevant well in advance of any media release. This means all the boys selected to trial have known about the changes for a while. If you believe it needed to be publicly available information for everyone to have before the 21st September then that's a different argument.

The NRC U/19 competition is NOT considered to be a higher development stage than Australian Schools & U/18's. At least not at the moment. In the future when it runs more efficiently and the teams are more competitive, perhaps that may be the case. Boys who were eligible to travel to England with the Schoolboys & U/18's at the end of the year were trialled in Canberra and have been looked at. They were aware of what they were trialling for. Some, like PSS, who was supposed to be included in the original wider Aus squad, performed well and it has paid off with higher representative honours. Others, particularly from the QLD GPS comp, didn't perform to the level they needed to, and as a result they were not picked.

As far as the shift to "Australian Schoolboys & U18's", I think it's a wonderful initiative. It will make us more competitive against other Tier 1 nations, and it avoids the loss of boys that find the transition from GPS rugby (5-6 days a week junior elite) to Colts rugby (2 sessions a week) disheartening. It goes further to making sure no boys "slip through the cracks", because we all know that boys mature at all kinds of different rates and their motivations do also. Someone who played 2nds in 2018 may well be the next Wallaby hooker.
 
G

GingerBreadCrab

Guest
^Yessir there is

I guess my question for yourself and my Grandson , Garry Owen III , is how do you convene a fair trial within the dictates of School ( for 17 and 18 year olds ) and Club ( for those 17 and 18 year olds out of School and at Club playing Colts ) over the next 2 years ? ( in QLD moreso )

In NSW there doesn't seem to be as much of a structural issue as to what we will face here in QLD over the next 2 years as we align school leaving age ( more commonly across entirety of cohorts ) with NSW etc

Anyway ..this aside - re : Australian Schools and U18 - just have a fair trialling system where U17 and U18 boys whether they still be at School or at Club have proper competitive opportunity based on merit and not jaundiced agendas / prejudices ( insert joke here )

GO, I think there is an enormous difference in quality when comparing the First XV players at a GPS school in QLD to the U/17s playing for Norths, or for Sunnybank, or anywhere. Some of those boys are indeed at GPS schools, and just love their rugby, but aren't pushing for a spot in the 45-man opens squad. One of the main things a representative selector will look at is an athletes "training age" and what skills they possess. How have they been developed? Over the next 2 years I would expect the boys that leave school as 17-year olds will be contacted by the QRU and told what the pathway looks like going forward. They should have the same training load as they did at school, similar to how the NTS used to operate and the ARU Academy.
If we're talking specifically about what will happen at Ballymore, I would love to see a semi-professional U/18's program across all franchises, followed by a professional U/20's. Get rid of the U/19's NRC, it's a junket and the senior competition is a joke also. How can you possibly have an attractive competition to play in when you are paid a token $1000 to play, effectively donating your study time and/or lost wages.
By having a properly funded and resourced Reds U/18 programme, boys that wish to trial from clubland, Country QLD or Northern QLD would be able to travel to Ballymore and get in touch with coaches. I've never seen a boy turned away for asking for a chance to prove himself.
 

Cancelled Account

Desmond Connor (43)
GO, I think there is an enormous difference in quality when comparing the First XV players at a GPS school in QLD to the U/17s playing for Norths, or for Sunnybank, or anywhere. Some of those boys are indeed at GPS schools, and just love their rugby, but aren't pushing for a spot in the 45-man opens squad. One of the main things a representative selector will look at is an athletes "training age" and what skills they possess. How have they been developed? Over the next 2 years I would expect the boys that leave school as 17-year olds will be contacted by the QRU and told what the pathway looks like going forward. They should have the same training load as they did at school, similar to how the NTS used to operate and the ARU Academy.
If we're talking specifically about what will happen at Ballymore, I would love to see a semi-professional U/18's program across all franchises, followed by a professional U/20's. Get rid of the U/19's NRC, it's a junket and the senior competition is a joke also. How can you possibly have an attractive competition to play in when you are paid a token $1000 to play, effectively donating your study time and/or lost wages.
By having a properly funded and resourced Reds U/18 programme, boys that wish to trial from clubland, Country QLD or Northern QLD would be able to travel to Ballymore and get in touch with coaches. I've never seen a boy turned away for asking for a chance to prove himself.

Hallelujah. This makes sense. Is this what is happening or is just tabled?
 

rugbyontherange

Frank Nicholson (4)
GBC, thanks for the info, clearly you are providing info from an informative background so appreciate the insight.
So hope you don’t mind if we ask some more questions.
——————————————————————————————-
Again, where has all the “everyone knew about it” info come from, re the Australian Schoolboys being merged with general U18’s. This is the post on the Australian Schoolboys site. Clearly they weren’t in the picture when they were running their trials this year. This article is on their website in April 2018.
The announcement on Australian Schoolboy Rugby page:
"Many of these players will go on to higher levels—
–46 of them will play in either the Australian Schoolboys Rugby Team or the Australian Schools Barbarians Team against New Zealand and Tongan Schools in September
–27 of them will go on to be selected in the Team to tour Ireland and Scotland in November this year”
So 27 of them not selected as there were 3 boys who have left school were dropped in.
—————————————————————————————————

"The format changes are decided upon and known to everyone who is relevant well in advance of any media release. This means all the boys selected to trial have known about the changes for a while."
Clearly not based on the info above and were the “Schoolboys” (and their parents) that trialled at National Champs at Riverview in July, aware that they were competing for spots against other 18year olds who had left school and were already in State Franchise Development Academies.
I have talked to a lot of parents over the past few weeks at the games v NZ and Tonga and following the announcement of the touring squad, that doesn’t seem to be the case and based on the info provided above by Australian Schoolboys Rugby, why would you think any different.
"Boys who were eligible to travel to England with the Schoolboys & U/18's at the end of the year were trialled in Canberra and have been looked at. They were aware of what they were trialling for. Some, like PSS, who was supposed to be included in the original wider Aus squad, performed well and it has paid off with higher representative honours. Others, particularly from the QLD GPS comp, didn't perform to the level they needed to, and as a result they were not picked."
When were QLD GPS players not selected back in May for QLD I or II, (because it is chosen on previous years form), advised they were allowed to trial in Canberra and who were the QLD GPS boys that did so. Clearly Phrancis SS trialled but who else was invited and based on what criteria were you selected/invited to trial. After watching the Nudgee v TSS R9 game, surely all of those lads that weren’t in QLD I or II but have had awesome first XV seasons this year should have trialed. (To our NSW counterparts, I have am mentioning the Top 2 QLD GPS teams as NSW had a full season for selectors to watch before being chosen for NSW I or II where as QLD season had not commenced before the State Team selections. At the end of the QLD GPS season we had 2 outstanding teams and not all of those players were given any representative opportunites).
Where were the selection notices for the Canberra trials that you are referring too. I am assuming it was not a “Schoolboy” process so how were the other U17 and U18 lads aware of this additional opportunity that PSS was offered.
"Australian Schoolboys & U18's", I think it's a wonderful initiative. It will make us more competitive against other Tier 1 nations, and it avoids the loss of boys that find the transition from GPS rugby (5-6 days a week junior elite) to Colts rugby (2 sessions a week) disheartening."
Completely agree re transition from GPS Schoolboys to clubland Colts so happy to see an U18 program develop, however the transitioning of QLD Schools to most of the boys being 18 when they finish school, rather than 17, will mean that the boys available will mostly still be "schoolboys". It is only in the current 2 year window (as GO has said above), that the "Schoolboys + U18" logic is applicable. Then the first year out of school will be back to U19’s.
So questions relating to this process this year:
- Given this is developmental pathway, what is the benefit of dropping 3 lads in who are already getting the benefit of being with a State Franchise v taking 3 new players who would then also be given the opportunity to access further development.
Nothing against the lads at all, only from a pathway/development perspective, they have had access to opportunity, last year through Australian Schoolboys program, and they are on the development pathway through State Franchise development programs. So it doesn't make sense that they are being offered that initial opportunity over again when they have moved on. (Or should have).
If you look at the positions, Lock (Douglas), Backrower (Tizzano) Wing (Lea), surely you could look for a start, at the the Nudgee v TSS sides and find a couple of lads in there who played their first year of First XV this year, were not given representative opportunities, but are up to the size, physcality and work rate of their cohort. Could they have not been given the opportunity to trial in Canberra.
For PSS to jump over someone like Nonggor, it has been mentioned that he had a good tournament in Canberra, but was the competition of equal calibre ie a NZ International side?
Again just looking for some integrity and transparency in the process of selection for these so called “Development Pathways”.
Looking at this article in The Australian today and the relevant section on Schoolboy rugby, I am not the only one thinking that the process of selection is skewed, therefore we are not getting the best results at schoolboy level year in and out and we are not getting the best platform for developing players for the future.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/sp...y/news-story/1ec43061864c95931107b44c05326450
Here is the relevant part to Schoolboy Rugby.
.......
Make no mistake, if Australian rugby did not have schools churning players out, against the odds I might add, in the face of stiff competition from Australian football and soccer, we would be up the creek without a paddle.
That does not mean that Australian Schools Rugby cannot do a lot more to support the game.
I have said before that a feature of New Zealand Rugby is their commitment to put self-interest aside in order to put the All Blacks first.
But then, of course, the national side has to be the right model. There is no use copying a flawed template.
Currently, the Australian Schools Rugby Union and the various associations are making selfish decisions that are not aligned with the needs of the Wallabies.
Rugby Australia should take a couple of steps to get the big rugby schools better aligned with the national cause.
The first step is that Australian Schoolboys must be successful. How can we produce successful under-20 sides and Wallaby programs if we are developing future Wallabies who know little about winning.
Over the past 10 years, our Australian Schoolboys have a 15 per cent strike rate against New Zealand and England. They mask their mediocrity by playing Tonga, Fiji and Samoa to get some wins.
To prepare to beat New Zealand in the term three break in September, our big schools should be playing competitive games all through term three so our players are match-ready. Instead, in NSW at least, the GPS and CAS competitions finish halfway through term three, so most of our best schoolboy players will face New Zealand schools without having played a match in more than six weeks.
This is dumb. The New Zealand national schools competition is just finishing.
Their players are in great form. They are battle-hardened. Our boys are starting way behind the eight-ball.
The second point I would make is that the Australian Schoolboys Rugby Union insists on teachers selecting and coaching the national team.
In New Zealand, the selecting and coaching is done by the professionals in their five Super Rugby franchises. But, of course, you have to have the right people in charge of those franchises.
New Zealand has worked hard to get smart and professional coaches on their payroll and they operate right throughout the system. In New Zealand, all the player information is gathered at schoolboy trials. It is then kept and shared with the provinces and the national body.
But if there is a good young scrum half in Taranaki, all the key people in New Zealand Rugby are aware of him and a pathway is created for him to develop.
It is not rocket science. It is just called “a pathway”. The player is not lost to other sports. And finally, we have to overhaul our selection model for the Australian Schoolboys.
The competition model, as I call it, is outdated. It forces our best young schoolboy players to play four matches in a week on bone-dry surfaces and then someone miraculously picks out “the best”.
Can you imagine the physical toll this model takes on players?
In New Zealand and England, this model was binned years ago, replaced with camp models, where professional coaches work with the top four or five players in each position in the country.
And by working closely with the players, these coaches quickly get to know the capability and capacity of each player and selection is far more accurate.
The players still play a game during camp, but their welfare is the main priority. And 99 per cent of the time, the best players are selected and they are fit and healthy and ready.
All these things are achievable if someone in the administration even knew about them. And if they do not know, they should hand in their resignation ticket.
 

Dark Shark

Alex Ross (28)
I cannot quickly find the rule changes relaxing the requirement to attend school to allow u18’s to be selected or is it something else.

If Aust wanted the strongest schools/u18 team they should have selected Petaia and Kibble. Ollie Shepherd was a mile in front of Gerrard at the URC Champs last week. Fourie and Dobbins were a mile in front of the Aust Schoolboys Hookers performance at their respective tournaments. I also rate Smit, Whitside, Carroll and Ralston way in front. Off the top of my head these are all u18’s Colts players who I do not believe were provided an option or an inkling of this new u18 eligibility but were more than good enough.

Edit: and Stanghon.

So are we sending our best team or providing incentives for some players to stay with the code?
 

Garry Owens

Alan Cameron (40)
GO, I think there is an enormous difference in quality when comparing the First XV players at a GPS school in QLD to the U/17s playing for Norths, or for Sunnybank, or anywhere. Some of those boys are indeed at GPS schools, and just love their rugby, but aren't pushing for a spot in the 45-man opens squad. One of the main things a representative selector will look at is an athletes "training age" and what skills they possess. How have they been developed? Over the next 2 years I would expect the boys that leave school as 17-year olds will be contacted by the QRU and told what the pathway looks like going forward. They should have the same training load as they did at school, similar to how the NTS used to operate and the ARU Academy.
If we're talking specifically about what will happen at Ballymore, I would love to see a semi-professional U/18's program across all franchises, followed by a professional U/20's. Get rid of the U/19's NRC, it's a junket and the senior competition is a joke also. How can you possibly have an attractive competition to play in when you are paid a token $1000 to play, effectively donating your study time and/or lost wages.
By having a properly funded and resourced Reds U/18 programme, boys that wish to trial from clubland, Country QLD or Northern QLD would be able to travel to Ballymore and get in touch with coaches. I've never seen a boy turned away for asking for a chance to prove himself.

I agree Crab , in that , there seems to be a big level of layering that inevitably questions the merit of the NRC

But back to your initial point re : GPS Firsts 17 year olds and U17 Club Guys - I was more referencing the U17 School Leaver playing Prem Colts over the next 2 years and possibly being deemed to be in a better position given the greater level of Rugby being played and in more volume of games

All I was querying was how do you actually convene trials so the boys get to go against each other given the demands and dictates if 2 very seperate competition platforms ?
 
G

GingerBreadCrab

Guest
I haven't read that article, so thanks for linking it, it raises a few interesting points about the rugby landscape for a schoolboy in Oz.

Without getting down into the real fine detail, which I'm aware that I might even have a biased perspective on, I don't think Australian Schools Rugby intended to mislead anyone with that statement. Perhaps when that was released in April, the clear directive on how to strengthen Australian Schools Rugby was slightly different. We can probably agree that the rugby landscape has changed significantly since April, with the induction of an NRC U/19's program, the abolishment of the National U/20's competition and Twiggy's Force/Future Force program reaping dividends. Hell, we've been through a whole season of schoolboy rugby since then, watched boys at U/15 level make the huge step up to 1st XV, train for 40 weeks of the year and prove themselves worthy of National selection.

To your first question, I think we are both on the same page. Australian Rugby needs to develop their athletes between the ages age of 17-20 more effectively. It seems the general consensus is that it was "unfair" to compare the boys trialling at Riverview to those involved in elite programs. I think if you asked any of those trialling that week, it would not have made a difference to their preparation or motivation. At some stage selectors have to bite the bullet and pick the best U/18 athletes in Australia to represent the country, because the results of our teams need to reflect more success. We need to win. Our traditional pathways need tweaking. We are able (or should be able) to develop athletes that aren't in the 27-man UK&I tour and provide them with the same resources. The changing model will hopefully allow those boys who develop at different rates to have multiple opportunities to prove themselves - those who aren't selected to tour should be disappointed, but not give up on rugby altogether.

QLD GPS Trials based on previous years form are a shitshow. You know it and I know it. Those boys that haven't been through a rigorous pre-season with a junior elite program like the top GPS schools (NC, TSS) aren't going to perform well.
I'm not going to sugarcoat that one. QLD & NSW should really align our seasons with one another, and play in a combined competition. GPS, AAGPS, CAS, ISA & AIC. Something akin to New Zealand's conference system. It's crazy watching our boys train for 39-40 weeks of the year and only ever play 8 competition games. One torn muscle can mean you miss out on a whole year's worth of development.

Watching the NC v TSS game I was inspired by the intensity of the game and the tribalism of the players. It is a really special environment that you can't really replicate, as much as we want to. Having said that, I think that the athletes from those teams who performed exceptionally were given representative opportunity - there aren't many that spring to mind who missed out. The real game-changers for both teams who deserved to play were in the Australian squad or the Barbarians squad. Happy to hear your thoughts though?

I think my references to "Canberra" may have been a little misunderstood - there were a select few players who needed match fitness and they were added to NRC U/19 squads, so selectors could see more of them. I wouldn't want any other boys from either TSS or NC to be included in those U/19 teams as they are not physically ready for it, regardless of how well they acquitted themselves this GPS First XV season.
 

rugbyontherange

Frank Nicholson (4)
Cheers for the info and again great insights.

Hear what you are saying and understand what Aust Rugby is trying to achieve, by God we need to do something, and yes the Rugby landscape has changed.

However things actually haven't changed at schoolboy level regarding pathways or development, the only thing that has changed is that 3 non schoolboys, who are already on clear development pathways, have been parachuted in to a Schoolboy selected touring side.

----
"Australian Rugby needs to develop their athletes between the ages age of 17-20 more effectively.
At some stage selectors have to bite the bullet and pick the best U/18 athletes in Australia to represent the country, because the results of our teams need to reflect more success. We need to win."

Agree 100 % but if we just need to win, Darkshark has mentioned a few names that are worthy and as 18yr olds weren't given any opportunity for development and why aren't we slotting Jordy Pataia and Kibble in.
Re Pataia and Kibble, the reason would be because they already have opportunity and so the same goes for the 3 boys from the State Franchises. So in this instance of the Schoolboys squad, the selections don't support either of the needs you have mentioned - the need to win and the need to provide development opportunity more players.

** The problem at U20 level isn't going to be solved easily due to the timing of the World Cup which suits the Northern Hemisphere countries, (England, Scotland, Wales, France, Ireland) who have the wonderful 6 Nations tournament before the U20's World Cup and the fact that our nearest neighbours who we can have a tournament with, are not strong Rugby Nations (Tonga, Samo, Fiji with NZ the exception). Also our best U20 players are not released from the Super Franchises so again, we are not fielding our "best in country" team.
----

"QLD & NSW should really align our seasons with one another, and play in a combined competition. GPS, AAGPS, CAS, ISA & AIC. Something akin to New Zealand's conference system. "

We all would love to see that but it will never happen. And you were sounding so sensible there for a while! lol
----

"QLD GPS Trials based on previous years form are a shitshow. You know it and I know it."

100%

So as you said, having a look at the Nudgee v TSS Premiership game.
There were 5 players from each side who were not given any chance at a GPS trial for I guess a number of reasons, which would include injury early in the season, but largely because they didn't have "form" from the previous year. Some of those boys will be year 11 and have another opportunity next year, some will be year 12 and have no opportunity due to the QLD GPS Shitshow, as you say.

NUDGEE
Smith 12
Banjo 11
Smith 9
Mark 5
Noofungatatoa 4
Kaiti'u 2

TSS
Roberts 14
Grey 12
Gibson 11
Robinson 7
Lyndon 6
Blyth 4

Out of this group and any other QLD GPS school for that matter, re the boys that were not given any rep opportunity, if you look at:
- who played every First XV game for the season,
- who played in their designated position for the season,
- who has scored an adequate number of tries and has a healthy defensive record for the backs,
- who has a higher than average work rate for the forwards,
- who has had previous development pathways experience through Junior Gold U15's, Reds Academy and QLD U15 or U17 State side, (indicating that they have already been observed outside the school system).
- who is above average size for their position, or looking at the rep players who hold the spots, are they bigger than those chosen.

Give every QLD GPS coach this quiz at the end of their season and see who you have missed.

I am sure the other readers who know the individual boys from there schools could come up with a name or 2 that ticks every one of these boxes.
 
S

sidelineview

Guest
I'm not sure if changing the Schoolboys team to include U18s players who have already left school is a good idea. It's a big change to tradition which means it's no longer an exclusive Schoolboys team.

The thinking behind it is fair enough. It promises to make future teams more competitive and gives further incentive to young players who have already left school to stay in the game. The rugby governing bodies should be congratulated for taking the initiative to provide more opportunities for young players.

However, it just doesn't sit right with me personally. I cant help but feel there could be alternatives in providing pathways and opportunities to U18s who have already left school.

It doesn't sit right that it wasn't advertised earlier in the year to give everyone fair notice of the change.

I cant help but feel a bit sorry for the schoolboys who missed out on the touring Schoolboys team for the selected U18 players. That's not meant to be personal towards those U18s players selected.

As far as the success of the Aussie Schoolboy teams and the relevant pathways is concerned, you cant win games without the cattle regardless of the quality of the pathways being implemented.

The most pressing problem for Australian rugby is getting the young kids to play the game in the first place rather than them being introduced to soccer or the dreaded AFL instead. They're usually lost forever after that happens especially as AFL has infiltrated traditional rugby schools. Soccer has always been there but has grown exponentially over the years.
Grassroots rugby starts then; at Club and School level.

Providing relevant pathways at School and Club level is second on the list. Quality coaching and identifying talent from an early age is very important to state the obvious.

The NZ model is excellent but they dont have to compete with AFL for their players.

Claiming the selection of the Schoolboy teams is only based on one week of play at the annual Nationals is not right. The truth is the selectors have a fair idea of the quality of a lot of the players based on the schoolboy competitions that precede the week at Riverview. Players who compete in Rep teams in Club rugby would be known to selectors as well. This wouldn't include all players competing at the Nationals, but I guess it would include most of them.

The young Queensland schoolboys playing their first season of 1st XV are at a distinct disadvantage but I'm not sure how that problem can be solved.

At least the powers to be are being proactive and that goes along with the introduction of the U19s NRC comp.
 

Garry Owens

Alan Cameron (40)
What's the point of playing Jordan Petaia in an U18 comp when he is already playing for the Reds?

Kibble too is beyond it and narrowly missed the Junior Wallabies tour because he hadn't even turned 18 at that point and there were others in front in pathway seniority - perhaps the fast tracking of additional layering and "level achievement" to provide satisfaction / motivation in the pursuit of the cheese

Pathways now seem to be segmented in 2 x yearly intervals in how a broader tagging system and swell in numbers management is the name of the game

-15/16 - JGC and National Champs
-17/18 - Australia U18/Schools - and then Club ( Colts ) underneath this
-19/20 - Franchise U20's / Junior Wallabies - and then underneath that U19 NRC and Club

Then Opens

Club/NRC/Franchise/National

In terms of this year's GPS trials and past season's form............not really sure I can agree with this . It's partially true (slightly) IMO . You still had guys at trials like Matt Englebrecht , Will Macpherson and Jordan Carriera come through and get rightfully recognised . But then guys like Connor McKinlay and Dougal Grey who may have been missed. It seemed more a case of quota management where every school had a minimum of 5 or 6 guys and a school like TSS had 2 or 3 more ( as they rightfully should have and possibly even with a few more ) I won't go back and re-open the debate and don't think I really have to when the proof was in the performance pudding of what actually happened at Schoolboy Nationals

I guess , for the overall good of the game , in perhaps a rather naïve way of thinking that those in a position of influence and determination share that same care factor , we must engage young men as they are and what they do - rather than wince at the incongruity and inconvenience of how someone looks and where they come from that is counter to a ( possibly ) flawed strategic positioning - a dog and pony show that has conflict in privilege / entitlement - against an exercise of social engineering in a re-positioning for hearts and minds we'll never win - and in the process - continue to isolate and disenfranchise true Rugby people

As a Sport ....Rugby seems pretty confused and without clear identity and values
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
I assume this change means that players who have already signed contracts and committed themselves to league won't be included. The boss of Australian Schools excused the practice by saying that it was all about boys enjoying the experience of their schoolboy sport and it wasn't their job to do the ARU's development (I'm paraphrasing).
 

Quick Hands

David Wilson (68)
As an aside, I think you'll also find that England did away with the national schoolboys rep team about a decade ago. When se go there we play their academy team.

Not saying that I agree with the decision to essentially do away with the Australian Schoolboys team. I know that the word schoolboys has been kept in the title, but if it's not restricted to boys still at school, then it's just an age group representative team. (Which may or may not be a good way to run things.)

I would add that I don't think that the selection process for Australian Schoolboys has been that good lately - largely brought about by timing issues, but also the usual political shennanigans. (Not that I think that the political stuff will change by the way)
 

Rugrat

Alfred Walker (16)
I shall watch with interest how many lads touring Europe with schoolboys will end up in European clubs over the coming years. With very limited pro contracts in Australia many of these lads willl need to relocate to Europe to join professional pathways. Not being sinicle just pointing out the reality of “what’s next” after the tour for these lads.
 

The Nomad

Dick Tooth (41)
Don't really have a strong opinion on the evolution of Aust Schoolboys to include all U18's , but can see the pluses.

In Qld the majority of boys finishing school are 17 years old , meaning plenty of boys who have had a good crack at schoolboy rugby as 17 year olds are still U18 in their first year out of school. This will change somewhat over the next 2 years , but there will always be decent number of lads finishing school as 17 year olds here.

For those south of the border , here's an example of the sort of talent I'm talking about .........

From the Aussie Schools squad this year ( 2 withdrew because of injury ) : Carter Gordon ( QLD 1 ) ; Will Roach ( QLD 1 ) : John Downes ( QLD 1 ) ; Zac Crothers ( QLD 2 ): Cayle Manu ( QLD 2 ) and Brad Kuhn ( QLD 2 )

These boys would be eligible again next year , when you extend it to the QLD 1 & 2 squads from this year the numbers are up around 15 lads, almost enough for a team and that's before you start looking at boys that played the house down in the second half of our season!

When you consider the numbers of boys who stop playing rugby after finishing school, the incentive of further progression might just keep a few more interested. Plus you get the advantage of a few more cattle in the paddock .

Think the real issue is how do you pick them? , ie fair trialling system. Don't think just adding boys into a squad through some separate selection will pass the sniff test for transparency .

Would be best to compare apples with apples and somehow incorporate the U18's into the either their own state's selection process that then progress through to the Nationals with the schoolboys , or have an "Academy" team selected from U18's play at the Nationals , a Baa-baas team of sorts.

Seeing them all play at the same time and against one another might reduce some of the perceived controversies of the selection process.
 

Armchair Selector

Johnnie Wallace (23)
Think the real issue is how do you pick them? , ie fair trialling system. Don't think just adding boys into a squad through some separate selection will pass the sniff test for transparency .

Would be best to compare apples with apples and somehow incorporate the U18's into the either their own state's selection process that then progress through to the Nationals with the schoolboys , or have an "Academy" team selected from U18's play at the Nationals , a Baa-baas team of sorts.

Seeing them all play at the same time and against one another might reduce some of the perceived controversies of the selection process.

Nomad I think you have nailed the longer term intention but I would imagine the decision makers are fighting one battle at a time. Having Non school U18s players eligible is a massive change. By the way the three brought in look to be worthy and top shelf!

This was a big change in 2018 that looks to have been handled very carefully. I would imagine the next step would be to bring a U18 Barbarians team from non-school pathways into the Australian Schoolboy selection Championships for tour years (every 2?)
 

Realist

Chris McKivat (8)
Nomad I think you have nailed the longer term intention but I would imagine the decision makers are fighting one battle at a time. Having Non school U18s players eligible is a massive change. By the way the three brought in look to be worthy and top shelf!

This was a big change in 2018 that looks to have been handled very carefully. I would imagine the next step would be to bring a U18 Barbarians team from non-school pathways into the Australian Schoolboy selection Championships for tour years (every 2?)

Your suggestion of a U18 Barbarians team makes the most sense maybe two teams if the talent is there.
 

shanky

Larry Dwyer (12)
Nomad I think you have nailed the longer term intention but I would imagine the decision makers are fighting one battle at a time. Having Non school U18s players eligible is a massive change. By the way the three brought in look to be worthy and top shelf!

This was a big change in 2018 that looks to have been handled very carefully. I would imagine the next step would be to bring a U18 Barbarians team from non-school pathways into the Australian Schoolboy selection Championships for tour years (every 2?)

Agree.

I think a next step might be to have Schoolboys team selected only from players who have made themselves eligible by playing 6-7 club games during the year.

Would immediately re-vitalise the club scene, but no doubt cause a big stink in the process.
 

rugbyontherange

Frank Nicholson (4)
Agree.

I think a next step might be to have Schoolboys team selected only from players who have made themselves eligible by playing 6-7 club games during the year.

Would immediately re-vitalise the club scene, but no doubt cause a big stink in the process.

Simply wouldn’t be possible (schools wouldn’t release players) and dropping a squad of First XV players in to club is only going to push the club players out. Then we lose them and the school players go back to the GPS comp and leave the clubs bare.
 
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