A FORCE to be reckoned with is brewing in Rockhampton's junior rugby circles.

On the "comprehensive" list of junior star players who could take Rockhampton's name onto the national, even international, level of senior-grade rugby are two students who made the world of difference on Saturday.

The pair, Rye Steel and Kurt Wiltshire, were the standout players in the under-17s victory against Brisbane Orange at Rugby Park.

Steel, a 16-year-old open side flanker from Emmaus College, showed why he was a force to be reckoned with with several impressive turnovers, U-17s coach Lachlan McMurtrie said yesterday.

"His tackling was way above standard, so he certainly set the bar against Orange," McMurtrie said.

The coach went on with his praise of Steel, highlighting his selection in the under-16 Queensland representative rugby academy last year.

McMurtrie said although Wiltshire was shining a lot more in rugby league, his strength in running good lines (which showed strongly on Saturday) meant his rugby union standards were hard to surpass also.

McMurtrie described the outside centre as "the great finisher" during their 26-5 victory over Orange.

Although CQ's win did not earn get them a top pool placing to head into the semi-finals, McMurtrie was adamant a few CQ players would not be overlooked for a state representative side.

Despite the win, CQ's performance was marred by injury.

Fullback Caleb Tull went down in the first 10 minutes of the match with a leg injury.

Following Tull was Josh Jackson, who also suffered a leg injury.

"When you lose two starting players, you start to worry a little bit... but the efforts of Wiltshire and Steel turned it around."



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