Ken Catchpole (46)
Well said INP. Unfortunately for us as traditional GPS rugby fans in general, there are more options than ever for winter sport which has a diluting effect on the strength of rugby numbers. The AFL and soccer teams seem to grow at our schools which is a concern, the AFL in particular has been aggressive in building their school market.
School rugby depth does directly impact the effect on a successful rugby program and helps feed a successful culture.
Personal opinion is that larger boarding numbers help school rugby numbers, as the boys are always looking for an excuse to play some form or rugby outside with their mates. Keeps them sharp, helps with fitness, skills and familiarity of how member's of their team will interact on Saturday.
This is why Scots are doing their best to keep AFL out.
They know that if AFL was an option, there would be a stampede across. Australian Rules is very popular in the east with the KickStart Aussie Rules program juggernaut already entrenched in many local schools. Plenty of eastern suburbs mothers tolerate rugby but want AFL with many kids already playing for the East Sydney Junior AFL Club located in Paddington. The club is cashed up and well supported. Junior rugby clubs are struggling to get numbers as the bodies move to the fumble ball game.
At Joeys, they offer football (limit on numbers) and AFL (again, only 2 teams. If you are not good enough, bad luck) It is the "tradition" of rugby dominance and the expectation that you play rugby when you attend Joeys that keeps the numbers strong. Boarding does help with training, club games for Hunters Hill on Sundays and general camaraderie.