Rugby shaping up
THERE could be few complaints about the ideal weather conditions as the Secondary Schools rugby union teams started their season with a 7-a-side carnival at Rugby Park.
Rockhampton Grammar School spokesman Todd Wells has been involved with school rugby over the years and he said he was impressed with the quality of the play from the 2012 playing group.
This year five local secondary schools took part in the program with Rockhampton Grammar maintaining its dominance of the senior age groups, while St Brendan's keep on improving, winning the younger age groups.
"The general quality of play was good for so early in the season," Wells said.
"It was really an introductory day to get a few schools involved in rugby."
Apart from St Brendan's and Grammar, North Rockhampton, Heights College and Emmaus College also entered teams in the one-day carnival.
"This year we have very good numbers for rugby union," Wells said.
"We are working hard to be competitive in both union and league."
Wells said St Brendan's and Emmaus College had similar objectives which promises to strengthen both codes of football.
Wells is confident the Grammar school will again be a force, not only locally, but also when facing schools from around the state.
Preparations for the year have been good and he expects this to be reflected in results.
"We have been training since November," he said.
"I think we will be as competitive as previous years. We have a big pack and the squad is very strong."
A reward for the work put in at Grammar is the quality of fixtures the team will play as a lead-up to its state program.
On March 16 Rockhampton Grammar will host a touring Canadian school team and that should be a good test for the squad.
Then at Easter the school will tour both the North and South Islands of New Zealand, playing five fixtures against fiercely competitive opponents.
Jack Wright was coaching Grammar's Year 8 players, with two teams in a grade that was won by St Brendan's.
Like Wells he was happy with the tournament as it served the purpose of having the players enjoy their rugby and also providing the opportunity for coaches to assess the capability of their players.
"It's about finding what 'cattle' we have," he said.
Wright said all 37 of his players enjoyed a run in the two teams from Year 8.
"Props don't make good sevens players but the day was about giving everyone a run," he said.
Catching the eye of the coach were Grammar's Central Highlands player Sam Barsby and Heath Clancy.
The local 15-a-side Secondary Schools competition kicks off on Sunday at Rugby Park.