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By ARU Media Unit
Three schools from Sydney’s West have successfully qualified for the 2012 National Schools Rugby Sevens Tournament on the Gold Coast next month after topping the NSW State Secondary Schools Rugby Sevens finals held in Penrith last week.
St Gregorys College in Campbelltown, The Hills Sports High School in Seven Hills and Westfields Sports High School in Fairfield automatically qualified after finishing in the top three amongst teams from high schools across regional and metropolitan NSW.
Penrith Rugby Club in Western Sydney hosted the tournament last Friday, 14 September, with fourteen teams all competing for the NSW Under 18 Rugby Sevens Champions title. The teams were awarded their place at the NSW State Secondary Schools Rugby Sevens finals as winners of their respective qualifying tournaments in their home regions.
More than 100 players representing their high schools, including representatives from the Australian Schoolboys team to tour Fiji and NZ, competed in the tournament.
The top three successful teams will make their way to the Gold Coast on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October to contest the National Schools Rugby Sevens crown against schools from across Australia.
The National Schools Rugby Sevens Tournament will be held alongside the second instalment of the Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch tournament, which will see 16 international teams descend upon Skilled Park on the Gold Coast for two days of frenetic Rugby Sevens action.
The Final of the National Schools Rugby Sevens Tournament will be held on the Sunday at Skilled Park during a break in the day two finals action of Gold Coast Sevens Fever Pitch.
From state secondary school tournaments through to national tournaments, the game of Rugby Sevens provides students in Western Sydney a potential pathway from the grassroots to International-level Rugby.
Former Australian Schoolboys representative and current Qantas Wallabies forward, Dave Dennis, who hails from Kurrajong in Sydney’s West said he was grateful for the opportunities Rugby provided him, paving the way to his International Rugby career.
“High school was where it all started, back in Richmond, the access and opportunities I got there through the talent development pathway helped me make the Australian Schoolboys,” Dennis said.
“I know when I was growing up there wasn’t as much opportunity to play Rugby, whether it be the traditional fifteen-a-side game or Rugby Sevens.
“I think it’s great there are more chances for kids to get involved in Rugby, get active and enjoy playing with their mates.
“Not only being able to play but to also have access to high-level Rugby competitions and connections makes all the difference.
“Since I was at school there are certainly more opportunities for kids in Western Sydney to realise their dreams and become the next Rugby star.”
A number of Australian Rugby Union’s High Performance staff were also in attendance last Friday observing talent for the Youth Commonwealth Games.
The High Performance staff were also on the lookout for talented youngsters to join the Australian Rugby Union’s Pathway to Gold Program, a national youth talent development and selection program from grassroots through to high performance Rugby.
Now officially in its first four-year Olympic cycle, Rugby Sevens offers a huge range of opportunities to men and women of all ages from the grassroots to the elite competition.
Detailed below is the list of schools that participated at last Friday’s NSW Rugby Sevens State Secondary Schools finals and the results:
St Gregorys College 49 defeated St Edwards College 0
The Scots College 46 defeated Kiama High 0
Hills Sports High School 24 defeated Farrer Memorial Agriculture High School 14
Westfields Sports High 34 defeated St Francis Xaviers 12
St Gregorys College 24 defeated The Scots College 21
Hills Sports High School 27 defeated Westfields Sports High 7
St Gregorys College 34 defeated Hills Sports High 10
Westfields Sports High 34 defeated The Scots College 25
Players from the Qantas Australian Women's Sevens program visited the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick on Thursday to bring some needed festive cheer to sick children.