Earlier in the week the weather forecast was looking very grim indeed and we were all quite concerned that the fixture between the AAGPS Blue / White and NSW Juniors Opens teams might be in jeopardy if the rain continued and council closed the grounds. So the decision was made to move the games to an earlier time slot and St Josephs College offered to host the games on their No. 1 oval – which was a real treat for all the boys to be able to run out onto the hallowed turf of SJC No. 1. And as Murphy’s Law would happen – the day turned out to be a magnificent dry and sunny one, which was perfect for some open and running rugby.
Both teams were coming off limited preparations. AAGPS teams(Blue & White) were selected last Saturday night and they had managed only two training sessions before they played against each other at Knox on Tuesday night (Blue running out winners). NSWJRU teams were selected on the 15th June following the Sydney vs NSW Country game and these teams didn’t get together again until this morning before today’s game where they had an early morning run and lunch at Eastern Suburbs Rugby Club.. So no-one could reallyclaim an advantage in the preparation and there were plenty of talented lads itching to get out and showcase their skills.
AAGPS White and NSWJRU II kicked us off and it was the club rugby boys that scored first. But AAGPS rallied and scored a couple of their own to skip away to a halftime lead. The NSW side suffered a few injuries in the backs and GPS took full advantage scoring out wide a number of times in the second half to run away with the game 40-12.
The main fixture was eagerly awaited and expectations were high from both teams. The stands had filled to a healthy crowd of supporters and the eagle eyed watchers would have noticed talent scouts from Waratahs, Shute Shield clubs and Aussie 7s dotted around the field.
NSW Juniors got away the quicker and scored early with a converted try – but GPS Blue hit back soon after with an unconverted try of their own. But it was NSW Juniors that took advantage of their chances the better, scoring a couple of breathtaking tries in the second half to run away with the game 38-10. A few very talented boys from both teams put in a great effort. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple of the GPS Blue lads in a NSW Schools or Combined States team when they are announced.
The NSWJRU I team has announced that it will be unchanged going into the GEN BLUE camp - although Tristan Leffers and Fossie Bradford will be brought in as shadow players and will join the team for the camp. The NSWJRU I team make up part of the GEN BLUE Academy and go into camp with NSW Schools I & II next week at Waratahs HQ – then they are off to Perth for a clash against the Western Force Academy.
Always a lot of people to thank for days like today. Firstly to Phil Barlow and Mark Ticehurst at AAGPS – thanks for your continued support of this fixture, it was a great day of rugby today. Thanks to Joeys for hosting us – it was a fantastic venue and we really appreciate you having us. To our referees (Paul and Greg) and officials, first aid (Ben Sanders) etc many thanks. To Andrew Cleverley and his team at NSWRU and to Adrian Thompson and Rugby Au we appreciate all your support of the pathway. And lastly to our sponsors at NSW Juniors Genesis Proprietary Trading, Estilo Sports Travel, NSW Positive Rugby Foundation and Rugby 1st a big thank you – without your support we could not possibly offer such a wonderful opportunity for these kids.
Good luck to the boys from both teams – hope to see a couple of you in an Australian jersey at the end of the year.