New mission in 2015 for talented Pioneers teenagers
FRENCHVILLE Pioneers forwards Noel Rodger and Prynce Tuagaele both pack down in the front row but the pair will be packing different size lunch boxes next year.
Rodger and Tuagaele will play their final match for the Pioneers on Saturday afternoon when the reigning premiers take on Central Highlands in the Central Queensland Rugby Union under-15 grand final at Rugby Park.
For Rodger and Tuagaele, it's their swansong match for the club with the pair headed to south east Queensland on rugby union scholarships in 2015.
New Zealand-born Tuagaele will join Brisbane Boys College while Rodger is headed for Ipswich Grammar.
Fifteen-year-old prop Tuagaele tips the scales at 108kg but wants to crack the 120kg mark - and believes the BBC buffet will help his cause - while Rodger's body shape has gone in the opposite direction. "I just wanted to get fitter so I could play more minutes and now I can play full games," said Pioneers hooker Rodger, who weighs 83kg after trimming 10kg off his frame after adopting a healthier lifestyle during the year.
In a sign of the talent in the region, their Pioneers teammates Ben Beatty and Halatoa Puafisi have also linked with prestigious rugby schools in southern Queensland.
Puafisi, 15, will attend Toowoomba Grammar School next year while Beatty, 14, joined Brisbane Boys College in September on a rowing and rugby scholarship.
Frenchville coach John Crawford has mixed feelings about the departure of the quartet but is grateful they have been recognised for their hard work. "I'm thrilled on one hand that these players have been recognised and rewarded for their hard work and skills," Crawford said. "But on the other hand, I'm disappointed to lose such talented players from the country rugby scene.
"The scouts have definitely noticed our players in the last 12 months and are picking up some real talent."
Crawford said the scholarships would provide the players with a great opportunity to further their rugby careers and hoped to see them progress to the sport's elite ranks.
Junior finals start tonight (5.30pm) at Rugby Park with under-5, under-7 and under-10 tussles.
The under-12s get their chance from 6.25pm with Capricorn Coast meeting Frenchville and Frenchville tackling Brothers at 7.15pm.
Tomorrow's grand finals see Central Highlands face Capricorn Coast in under-13s (4pm) while Frenchville meets Central Highlands in under-15s (5.30pm).
CQ Rugby Junior Grand Finals
Saturday at Rugby Park
Central Highlands v Capricorn Coast at 4pm
Central Highlands v Frenchville Pioneers at 5.30pm