http://www.rugbyheaven.com.au/news/news ... 49313.html
Greg Crowden of the SMH wrote:
ARU to plunder league juniorshttp://www.rugbyheaven.com.au/news/news ... 49304.html
Greg Growden Chief Rugby Correspondent | February 25, 2009
THE Australian Rugby Union is focusing on the junior rugby league ranks to find future Wallabies and boost its dwindling player stocks.
ARU high-performance manager David Nucifora said yesterday it was imperative it closely look at what talent was available among young league players, while also being on top of whatever prospects continued to emerge from junior rugby. The former Brumbies and Blues Super 14 coach said another key recruitment area was the Australian Sevens program because, as shown through the rise of Matt Giteau and James O'Connor, it worked as a crucial international rugby stepping stone.
"We are keeping our eyes open at the young rugby league ranks among the 15- to 20-year-olds," Nucifora said.
"We have beefed [up] that area a bit and become more efficient. It's not just rugby league, but it also involves a stronger focus on talent spotting in our own junior rugby ranks. You need good people working for you in that area. It's a matter of identifying people who can provide you with good information."
Rugby sources confirmed that talent scouts were attending as many junior rugby league games and carnivals as possible.
It is no coincidence that Michael O'Connor, who has for some years been heavily involved in the ARU's recruitment program, doubles as the Australian Sevens coach.
While Sevens football is often forgotten and Australia has struggled to be a force in that area for some time, the ARU is not neglecting it. The World Cup Sevens tournament in Dubai next month will be used as a guide to whether some members of the Australian team are ready for Super 14 football and beyond.
The team includes Sydney University's Ed and Jono Jenkins, the first twins to represent Australia at Sevens level, and former Sydney Roosters league player Shaun Foley.
"We have faith in the Sevens program to give guys an opportunity and gain good experience," Nucifora said.
"The Sevens series is actually a really good area to gauge how these guys go - not just from a footballing point of view. It isolates people. You can see what players have ticker, see who can run and tackle, how they handle travel, how they back up …"
Jonathon Dart of the SMH wrote:
Worst XV: Sydney Boys drop the ball after 100 years of rugbyJonathan Dart | February 25, 2009
SYDNEY Boys High School's chocolate and blue rugby jersey will be no more when the Greater Public Schools First XV competition kicks off this year.
Citing safety, the school has pulled its teams out of top-level competition for the first time in 103 years. Instead it will combine its teams with those of Sydney Grammar, competing in the Second XV and B-grade fixtures. Grammar will continue to play in First XV and A-grade fixtures.
For three years, Sydney Boys High has had disappointing rugby results, because of mismatches in size and ability with those of opponents. The Greater Public Schools rugby convener Mark Ticehurst confirmed that the one-sided results had added to the risk of injury to Sydney Boys High players.
In 2007 the school lost all seven of its matches, conceding 633 points and scoring only eight points. Last year it contested only one game, which it lost to St Joseph's 112-0, before forfeiting its remaining six games. Mr Ticehurst said: "It was the safety issue that saw Sydney High withdrawing. It's an opportunity to develop their rugby, and although they will still be in a very tough competition, the pressure is off them to perform at the First XV level."
Sydney Boys High is the only public school in the GPS and selects its students on an academic basis. It has traditionally been competitive in rugby, but its students have recently shifted to sports such as soccer.
Last year the school had only 32 players registered in its senior rugby ranks, compared with 79 who signed up for soccer.[EDIT: Those ratios are not uncommon. I've heard anecdotes suggesting that soccer outnumbers RU or comes close to at most GPS schools]
Nic Lochner, who played rugby for the school last year, said it should try to maintain its tradition of playing rugby in the GPS, one of the oldest and most prestigious schoolboy competitions in the world.
"The boys trained and put in their best. No one was afraid to go out there every week and take on the other schools."
However, schoolboy blogs showed little sympathy, giving an insight into the potential threats facing Sydney Boys High players. "Robbie Deans could be your head coach and the slaughter still wouldn't stop," said one on the website sportal.com.au.
A spokesman for Sydney Boys High did not respond to Herald inquiries yesterday.
About time High did this. It's been woeful. The school has gone in a different direction. Grammar are trying to turn the corner to avoid dropping out.