Australian Schools squads ready for New Zealand and Fiji

by Staff Writer

The Australian Schoolboys are set to take on the best of New Zealand and Fiji’s Schoolboys with a strong selection of players confirmed for the upcoming Macquarie Bank Schools Tri-Nations Series on home soil this year.

This year New Zealand and Fiji will travel to Australia for the series with the Australian Schoolboys and Australia A side playing two matches each against the visitors on the grounds of Sydney’s Knox Grammar School.

The Australian Schoolboys team will look to continue the impressive standard set last year, which saw the touring side finish with a thrilling 16-14 victory over New Zealand in Auckland. This was only the second time an Australian Schoolboys side has defeated the Kiwis on New Zealand soil.

This year’s Australian Schoolboys team includes four 2012 Australian Schools Tour squad representatives with Harry Jones, Andrew Kellaway, Tepai Moeroa and Brad Wilkin returning to bolster the side.

Fourteen NSW players, seven from Queensland, one Victorian and one ACT player make up the Australian Schoolboys squad this year with past Australian Schoolboys, Stephen Philpotts and Tim Rapp returning as Coach and Assistant Coach.

The Australia A squad features nine players from NSW, nine from Queensland, three from the ACT, one from Victoria and one from Western Australia.

Qantas Wallabies’ relatives are also among the Australian team line-ups with Ben McCalman’s cousin, Jack McCalman, and Joe Tomane’s brother, Jason Tomane.

Both teams also feature key Indigenous Rugby talent, including Moses Sorovi who captained the victorious Queensland side that took home this year’s National Indigenous Under 18 Championship title.

The Australian squads were selected from the State Schools teams following the Novotel Australian Schools Rugby Championship, which was won by NSW 1 after defeating the NSW 2 team in the title decider in July earlier this year.

Over the years, the Australian Schoolboys program has produced a host of Qantas Wallabies including George Smith, Nathan Sharpe, Matt Giteau, Digby Ioane, Will Genia, Ben McCalman, David Pocock and Matt Toomua.

The Australian sides will kick off their campaigns on Tuesday 1 October at Knox Grammar School. Australia A will take on New Zealand ahead of the Australian Schoolboys opening battle against Fiji.

The series continues at Knox on Saturday 5 October with Australia A against Fiji, followed by the highly anticipated final match between Australia and New Zealand.

The Fijian Schools XV arrived last week ahead of their first match today against the NSW Country Schoolboys at The Armidale School in Northern NSW.

The New Zealand side will arrive in Australia this week ahead of its opener against Fiji at St Mary’s League Stadium this Friday 27 September. The match in western Sydney will also see a Penrith Academy side take on a Barbarian team in the curtain raiser.

Rugby enthusiasts are encouraged to attend the games to support the National Schoolboys campaign. Entry to the matches at St Mary’s Leagues Stadium and Knox Grammar School is $5 for all adults, with all proceeds going towards the Australian Schools Rugby Union.

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